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Kevin Clash resigns as Elmo
The voice and puppeteer of the well-known Sesame Street puppet, Elmo, has officially resigned from the role after being accused a second time of having a sexual affair with a minor. Earlier in the month Clash was accused by a twenty-three year old man of having a sexual relationship with him when he was sixteen; the man later recanted the charges that revealed that Clash was a gay man. It seemed that Clash would be taking a break for a while; however, twenty-four year old college student Cecil Singleton in New York has come out saying he had a sexual relationship with Clash when he was fifteen and is suing for five million dollars (Yahoo News).
The Sesame Workshop says, “This is a sad day for Sesame Street” due to the resignation of one of their beloved and longest working puppeteers (Yahoo News). Episodes with Clash will continue to air until 2014 at least, with the latest season wrapping up filming in December and starting up next September. Who will take over the role remains to be addressed, but there have been many puppeteers trained to do the role as a stand-in for Clash.
Clash is not being arrested for the accusation due to the prosecution deadlines. Singleton says, “Under state law, child sex-assault victims have from age 18 to age 23 to bring their cases; past that, prosecution is barred by a statute of limitations” (Gothamist).
The internet has been buzzing with people either calling Clash a pedophile with prejudiced comments directed to the homosexual community or believe he is innocent and the accuser is simply looking for a way to make money after the previous accusation. Singleton says, “A lot of people have called me money hungry, gold digger. I promise you that ($5 million) amount came out of left field. It was determined by my attorney” (Gothamist). Two other possible victims have come forward to Singleton’s lawyer and are expecting additional action in these charges.
Last week, I wrote a column on how it was a shame to see Clash go on leave temporarily and hoped for him to return soon. Sadly, it seems as if his return is impossible. I think it is likely that these additional charges are motivated by greed in the hopes of using the scandal to make money. After all, such things are common in the media world. I hope that these accusations will be put to rest soon because they are damaging to Clash’s reputation whether they are true or not. I thank Kevin Clash for all the wonderful work he has done and hope things get better soon.