Voice behind Elmo caught in scandal months after Bucknell visit

Katey Duffy

Contributing Writer

Several months after the University welcomed Kevin Clash, the voice of Sesame Street’s Elmo, to speak as part of the series “Creativity: Beyond the Box,” the famous puppeteer resigned from PBS after allegations of sexual assault were leveled against him last fall.

The University Forum invited Kevin Clash and his puppet Elmo to speak to fans and members of the Lewisburg community in the downtown Barnes and Noble bookstore. Clash also held a question and answer session in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts.

Many students and faculty attended the forum and were delighted to learn about puppeteering and how Clash’s career began.

A young Pennsylvania man, later identified as Sheldon Stephens, claimed Clash had an intimate relationship with him when he was 16 years old. The man soon recanted his statements after an undisclosed settlement with Clash, but others soon came forward with other sexual allegations against Clash.

Cecil Singleton, a 24-year-old college student, filed a lawsuit against Clash claiming that they had sexual relations when he was underage. Singleton had kept his relationship with Clash a secret for almost a decade until he heard of Stephens’ allegations.

This triggered Singleton to press charges against Clash who had worked at PBS for a total of 28 years. Clash then revealed that he was gay, but denied all of the accusations of sexual assault with minors. Sesame Street soon granted Clash a leave of absence but a letter of resignation was not far behind.

“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,” Clash said in his statement last November.

A total of four men have come forward to date to accuse Clash of inappropriate behavior when they were minors, and Clash apparently paid for one minor to fly from Miami to New York where sexual interactions took place.

Clash’s famous character Elmo continues his presence on the widely viewed children’s program, now voiced by understudies, though the effect Clash’s actions have had on the character are difficult to gauge.

“Elmo is a fun-loving character that now has a huge mark on his reputation due to Clash’s actions,” one University sophomore said.

Information taken from Huffington Post.

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