After 28 years of playing one of the most beloved characters in TV history, Kevin Clash can no longer tell you how to get to Sesame Street.
The voice of Elmo dodged a nasty scandal last week when a man who accused Kevin of having a relationship with him when he was 16 admitted their affair started when he was 18. However, accuser number two Cecil Singleton came forward with a $5 million lawsuit and claims that Kevin had an inappropriate relationship with him when he was 15. While he denies the accusations, the new scandal ultimately left Kevin with no choice but to quit the show. "Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately," he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization which runs the show, has no immediate names in mind to fill Kevin's shoes as the voice of Elmo. "None of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization," said Sesame Workshop in a statement. "Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin's personal life has become a distraction that none of us wants, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street."
However, the organization made it clear that the furry red Muppet will remain on the show despite Kevin's absence. "(Elmo) is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street."
What do you think of Kevin leaving the show?
Photos courtesy of Sesame Workshop and Getty Images