Elmo puppeteer quits 'Sesame Street'

Kevin Clash and Elmo (Reuters files)

Kevin Clash and Elmo (Reuters files)

THANE BURNETT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:39 PM ET

This episode of Sesame Street brought to you by the letters W, T and F?

Elmo's World was sent into a tragic orbit on Tuesday, as the man behind his famous voice Kevin Clash resigned.

The end to Clash's relationship with perhaps the world's most famous collection of cloth came after a second alleged victim has come forward with claims he had underage sex with the puppeteer.

Sesame Street has a history of tackling tough subjects in a way that even children might understand -- from tolerance to standing up to bullies.

But the sordid headlines over the puppeteer's private life proved too much for him to continue to have a home on Sesame Street.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Sesame Workshop made the case on why Clash had to leave Elmo behind.

"Sesame Workshop's mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential," they wrote.

"Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization."

However, the statement continued: "Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin's personal life became a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be affective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street.

"This is a sad day for Sesame Street."

A second accuser, identified as Cecil Singleton, is demanding more than $5 million in damages from Clash, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday. Singleton alleges he was 15-years-old when he met Clash, then 32, in a gay chat room in 2003.

Last week, a 24-year-old unnamed man alleged that he had had an underage relationship with Clash. The man apparently later recanted his story.

But it was enough to force the artist to reportedly come out as a gay man.

As for Elmo, and the children he speaks to, life on TV will go on.

The same as it did after the August death of Jerry Nelson, who, over decades, gave a hand to Count von Count.

Other puppeteers have regularly been used to fill in when Clash was away.

Kids won't care. They love the puppets and not the humans behind them.

Life is good on a street that makes even monsters friendly.

Though they'll grow up to find out why innuendo is the real-world bogeyman.


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