BREAKING: Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash RESIGNS after it’s revealed he tried to pay off his accuser with $125,000.
Kevin Clash, the longtime voice and puppeteer of Sesame Street’s Elmo, has resigned from the show amid underage sex allegations. Sesame Workship announced the news this morning. The non-profit organization said the scandal is “a distraction”, and sent a statement to The New York Times.
Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. 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. 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.
It was revealed last week that a 24-year-old man accused Clash of engaging in an underage sexual relationship, which began when he was only 16-years-old. Very shortly after, the accuser recanted his story. It’s been revealed that Clash tried to buy his silence, offering the young man $125,000 to stay silent. Here’s more from TMZ:
The man who accused Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, of having sex with him while he was underage stands by his story, claims he was pressured into recanting it, and is now interviewing lawyers to help him undo his settlement.
TMZ broke the story … Clash and Sheldon Stephens entered into a settlement in which Clash agreed to pay Stephens $125,000, but in return the agreement provides the following:
“Stephens agrees that immediately upon execution of this Agreement, his counsel, Andreozzi & Associates, P.C., shall release the [following] statement … ‘He [Stephens] wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.'”
We’ve learned Stephens has met with lawyers in Los Angeles and told them he was pressured into recanting his allegation and insists he’s telling the truth when he says he had sex with Clash when he was 16.
Stephens — who is now 23 — is telling lawyers he will gladly forfeit the $125,000 to restore his name. Stephens is saying he was literally crying during the final negotiations and repeatedly said he didn’t want to sign.
Clash’s lawyer told us Friday he would have no comment on the settlement story.
Also….. this just in. According to TMZ, another man has come forward claiming that he too had a sexual relationship with Clash, when he was 15-years-old. This second accuser is demanding more than $5 million in a new lawsuit.
This is going to get much worse, I’m afraid.