Elmo Puppeteer Kevin Clash Accused of Sex With Underage Boys; Get in on the Conversation With HLN's Ryan Smith
The first accuser, Sheldon Stephens, 23, alleges that he had a relationship with Clash, 52, when he was just 16 years old. Stephens and Clash have since reached a settlement in which the accuser would receive $125,000, as well as recant his story. He was reportedly reluctant to sign and has expressed regret in settling the case.
Since news of that first suit, Clash has been hit with two more suits. The second accuser, Cecil Singleton, says that he met Clash on a gay telephone chat line in 2003 when he was 15 and Clash was 42. He is demanding more than $5 million in his suit.
A third accuser, who wishes to go by “John Doe,” is also claiming to have had a sexual relationship with Clash when he was 16 years old and Clash was 40.
Clash became a puppeteer with “Sesame Street” in 1984 and for more than two decades was famous for his role as the voice behind the beloved Elmo character. He resigned on Nov. 20 with a “very heavy heart,” saying in a statement, “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 released their own statement following Clash’s resignation, "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."
Do you blame Sesame Street for not taking action against Kevin Clash sooner?
Get in on the conversation below.
HLN’s Evening Express anchor, Ryan Smith, is taking your questions and comments now, and will be sharing his thoughts on the allegations against Clash later this week.
Ryan Smith anchors Evening Express on HLN every week night between 5-7 PM ET. For more about Evening Express, check out http://www.hlntv.com/shows/evening-express.