Kevin Clash, Voice of Elmo For More Than Two Decades, Has Resigned

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 20 2012 3:06 PM

The Voice of Elmo Resigns

Kevin Clash Being Elmo
Kevin Clash at an event for the 2011 documentary Being Elmo.

Photo by Todd Oren © 2011 Todd Oren. Image courtesy gettyimages.com.

Though it was just one week ago today that it seemed that Elmo’s troubles were over, voice of Elmo Kevin Clash resigned today. Clash had been accused of statutory rape by a former lover who is now 23, but the Sesame Workshop said that the allegations were unfounded. Last Tuesday Clash’s accuser recanted, and his lawyer said that what took place between the two men was an “adult consensual relationship.”

However, the controversy came back to life Saturday when TMZ reported that Clash had paid his accuser a settlement of $125,000, with the stipulation that the accuser recant. On Monday, the accuser said he was seeking to undo the settlement, saying that he was pressured into it, according to TMZ. And now the site reports that a new lawsuit has emerged, from a new accuser who also claims to have had a relationship with Clash while he was still a minor. (The allegations have also led Clash to come out as a gay man, saying “I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.”)

Advertisement
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.

Clash has thus far denied committing any crimes, and here the Sesame Workshop cites only that the controversy has been a “distraction.” But at least one part from the Sesame Workshop’s statement was clear: “This is a sad day for Sesame Street.”

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.