Puppeteer Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street, after 28 years.
The move follows underage sex allegations – since withdrawn – which the openly-gay Clash denied, claiming the relationship was between two consenting adults.
Sesame Workshop released a statement saying: “Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, 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.”
After Clash took leave of absence to resolve the matter, the original allegations were withdrawn by an unnamed man.
The Smoking Gun identified him as a struggling 24-year-old model/actor, once arrested for the knifepoint robbery of $250,000 in jewellery from a music manager.
But now, a second man has also come forward to accuse Clash of having sex with him while he was underage.
Clash 52, said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, “I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart.
“I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately.”
Sesame Workshop has previously said, “Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years.”