Hanging Up His Puppet: Kevin Clash Officially Resigns From Sesame Street (What’s Next For Elmo?)

November 20, 2012  |  


Just a little over a week ago, allegations dropped that famed puppeteer Kevin Clash, who has been behind beloved characters like bass playing Clifford from “The Jim Henson Hour,” Baby Sinclair from the popular show “Dinosaurs” and of course, Elmo, had a relationship with an underage gentleman. Since then, Clash and his defense team have been very clear that they’re ready to fight the allegations as they said that while he did have a relationship with the accuser, Sheldon Stephens, they dated after the young man was of age. By the end of last week, Stephens recanted his claims, and then later claimed he was paid off and didn’t want to take back what he said. You would think that with the accuser’s credibility looking very tired at this point that Clash would be somewhere in good spirits, but today he spent the morning parting ways with the folks at the Sesame Workshop. According to a blog on The New York Times, after nearly 30 years of working for them, Clash decided that he could no longer be effective in his role with the company because of the negative attention surrounding him and resigned.

He probably came to this conclusion after reports came out that there is a second man saying he had an underage sexual relationship with the puppeteer. According to TMZ, the second accuser, Cecil Singleton, has come forward to say he had a relationship with Clash some 20 odd years ago but just came out about it because he “did not become aware that he had suffered adverse psychological and emotional effects from Kevin Clash’s sexual acts and conduct until 2012.”

While it remains to be seen what exactly will happen to Kevin Clash with all these new claims and reports coming out, according to The New York Times, Elmo will continue on as cash cow and pretty much the most famed puppet they have on Sesame Street. Someone else will fill the role of puppeteer for the beloved red monster and with the help of Clash, the company had already pinpointed people that could take over for him (maybe Clash was considering retiring soon?), and they had started to do so when allegations first came out. But at this point, everyone is asking how Clash’s reputation, which has been tarnished by the either true claims or malicious lies of a few, will affect the Sesame Street brand, particularly the character of Elmo. Will parents still be able to watch the show, check out “Elmo’s World” with their children and feel okay about it? Will they buy Elmo products more or less? Time will tell. If the allegations are false, hopefully Clash can have his name cleared (the claims just seem really shady since they’re coming around the same time and for the purpose of collecting money), but if they’re true, he’ll have to deal with the consequences and I’m pretty sure Elmo’s popularity will take an even bigger hit. But as someone who used to LOVE Elmo as a kid, and went on to be very fond of Clash after watching the documentary on his life, Being Elmo, I have to admit that this is a very sad day indeed for Muppet lovers everywhere.

Here’s a clip of Singleton making his case at a press conference today. Are you surprised Clash resigned? Was it the appropriate move at this point?

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  • So many Eddie Longs’ out there now….wolf in sheep’s clothing…

  • Ladybug94

    I don’t think he stepped down due to being gay, it had more to do with the second person coming forward and making the same allegation of sexual abuse as a child.

  • Sydney Evans

    I just feel these people are trying to get money out of Clash because of there hard times. They probably asked for money then turned to blackmailing

  • hollyw

    This is so sad and unfair. He’s gay; so what. He’s not the first gay Jim Henson employee to come out, but I do think that adversaries of the show have been trying to throw “gay” shade on the show since the early 90s, with saying that Bert and Ernie were gay for being two males living together, and that the actor who played Big Bird was also gay, as if that made the crew a bunch of molestors or something. These accusers are a disgrace, ACCEPTING the money, and then recanting your recant?? That screams money-chaser, and if I were Clash, even though I resigned, I’d still sue the sh*t out of those two.

  • heyheyno

    I don’t see why elmo would take a bit hit especially if they found someone else to take on the role

  • SheBe

    This post-Sandusky era we are in will make it much more difficult for both the accuser and the accused. I think there has always been a side eye given to both but people are using extortion as a new way of life at the expense of someone else’s pain. That pain may be actual victims elsewhere or an innocent party.

  • Emm

    Its so sad that we’re at a point where even accusations of abuse led to actions like this. Even if he was innocent, after things like what happened at Penn State the country is in a constant state of defense. Better safe than sorry mentality. Which is good and bad I guess.

  • Ambitous12

    If I was him I would’ve fought those allegations and Aw man I”m gonna miss Elmo I grew up watching him and I watch it with my little sister that’s her favorite character

    • TRUTH IS

      Just because he voiced your favorite character doesnt mean hes not shady. The industry has a lot of perverts. Maybe God wanted what’s in the “dark” to come to light right now!!

      • Ambitous12

        I usually agree with you but here’s the thing it doesn’t matter if he’s gay or not he is out of a job. It’s a bunch of perverts out there but what can we do about it? I mean they couldn’t do a back round check on the guy. If it was you would you fight for your job or back down?

    • Ladybug94

      Well, the thing is he probably feels overwhelmed now that a second person has come forth with allegations. The bad publicity for Sesame Street isn’t good for business either.

  • Miss_Understood

    I actually think Sesame Street respected him but had no choice so they gave him the option to step down or be fired due to the bad press because really, who gives up a successful career on their own volition??…something tells me that man-child was lying and extorting him for money and a little fame and it seems that the public was not all too comfortable with him admitting to being gay, so really he was up against a wall. He needs to clear his name after the legalities are settled, go on the view or something

  • He’s leaving a 28 year career over this? I don’t believe the allegations, I would have fought them.

    • TRUTH IS

      Pus cee and butt will have your cureer flushing down the toilet….

      • bits

        not knowing how to spell can have that same effect…

        • TRUTH IS

          Idiot grammer police I misspelled those words. Cureer = career (rappers pronounce them like that and you repeat the lyrics yet you wanna nitpick here…get a life) pus cee because MN will block it (am sure you knew what I meant)….ignant much…lol……gosh you are a troll.

          • TRUTH IS

            …misspelled those words on purpose*