As Sarah noted in Good Morning, News, Kevin Clash, the puppeteer responsible for bringing Elmo to life on Sesame Street for the past 28 years, gave his notice today. Articles such as this one are making sure to point out that the resignation comes amidst sexual misconduct allegations, even after Children's Television Workshop had announced they'd done their own internal investigation and found that Clash had committed no wrongdoings, and said allegations were recanted within 24 hours of their being lobbed at Clash in the first place.
So if the accuser recanted, and Children's Television Workshop found the accusations baseless, why is he still quitting? Well, a man in his 30s named Cecil Singleton is saying Clash trolled a gay phone line in 1993, and picked up Singleton for gay sex at the age of 15.
The key details of his accusation:
In the lawsuit, filed in federal court in NYC, Singleton claims Clash "groomed [the accuser] to gain his trust by, among other things, taking him to nice dinners and giving him money."
Singleton claims while Clash was featured on "Sesame Street," he was "preying on teenage boys to satisfy his depraved sexual interests."
In the suit, Singleton claims ... although the sex occurred nearly 20 years ago, he didn't take action until now 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."
Singleton is demanding more than $5 million.
The details of the story seem to be in flux already, as now Singleton is telling TMZ.com, the site that broke the original recanted accusation and seems to be in the business of killing Elmo singlehandedly, that the sexual encounter happened in 2003, and his age is actually 24.
Regardless the veracity of Singleton's claims, this is likely why Clash resigned. The question is whether the Workshop will have to mothball their most popular character ever due to this controversy, as they've let go of their creator. Will people eventually forget that Elmo was somehow tied up in a sex scandal? Elmo will be performed by puppeteers that Clash had been training to perform the character, as they have been since his initial suspension.
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