NEW YORK (WJZ) — The voice of Elmo, Kevin Clash, quits Sesame Street. The stunning departure comes after a second man comes forward accusing the Baltimore County native of an underage sexual relationship.
Adam May has the reaction from Clash’s family and friends.
The second accuser spoke to reporters Tuesday. He spoke in graphic detail, claiming Clash repeatedly preyed on teenage boys.
Kevin Clash was a local success story. He grew up in Turner Station and became the voice of one of the world’s most famous puppets, Elmo.
“Elmo is for all children, all people,” Clash has said in the past.
Now his career is crashing down when a second man came forward claiming he had a sexual relationship with Clash, starting when he was just 15 years old.
“It has occurred to me as an adult how inappropriate my relationship was but another sad thing is that I was sexualized at a very young age,” said accuser Cecil Singleton.
Singleton says he met Clash on a phone sex line.
Last week, another man made similar accusations, now forcing the 52-year-old Clash to quit his role as Elmo.
Sesame Street states, “The controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction none of us want. He has concluded he can no longer be effective in his job. This is a sad day for Sesame Street.”
“This is gonna be a terrible, terrible, terrible loss,” said Clash’s aunt, Maxine Howard. “He’s been an inspiration to the family and the community.”
Clash continued volunteering in Turner Station and gave back to the community even after his rise to fame.
His supporters still stand by him.
“He was raised to be a great person and that is what he is to us, a role model for our children,” said family friend Muriel Gray.
“It’s very devastating. I feel very sad about it,” said longtime neighbor James Howard.
“He’ll be back. In some capacity, he’ll be back,” said Howard.
This latest accuser is suing Clash for $5 million.
In a statement, Clash says he’s very sorry to be leaving Sesame Street.
Reports say Clash settled with his first accuser for $125,000 but that man says he now regrets taking the deal.