Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash resigned from ‘‘Sesame Street’’ on Tuesday amid allegations he sexually abused underage boys, bringing an end to a 28-year career in which he turned the furry red monster into one of the most beloved — and lucrative — characters on TV and in toy stores.
‘‘Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work ‘Sesame Street’ is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer,’’ the performer (inset) said in a statement. ‘‘I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately.’’
His departure came as a 24-year-old college student, Cecil Singleton, sued Clash, 52, for more than $5 million Tuesday, accusing the actor of engaging in sexual behavior with him when he was 15. Singleton charged that Clash made a habit of trolling gay chat lines for underage boys and meeting them for sex.
It was the second such allegation in just over a week. On Nov. 12, a man in his 20s said he had sex with Clash at age 16. A day later, though, the young man recanted, saying their relationship was adult and consensual.
Clash was a young puppeteer at ‘‘Sesame Street’’ in the mid-1980s when he was assigned a little-used puppet now known as Elmo and turned him into a star. Clash also served as the show’s senior Muppet coordinator and Muppet captain, winning 23 daytime Emmy Awards and one prime-time Emmy. Clash did not address the new allegations.
Along with Elmo, Clash became something of a star. In 2006, he published an autobiography, ‘‘My Life as a Furry Red Monster,’’ and he was the subject of the 2011 documentary ‘‘Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.’’
Episodes with Clash performing as Elmo will presumably continue well into 2014. Taping of season No. 44 will wrap by mid-December and will begin airing next September, according to someone close to the show who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Douglas Kennedy, a son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, was acquitted Tuesday of child endangerment and harassment charges stemming from a scuffle in a hospital maternity ward. Kennedy had tried in January to take his newborn son from Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. He said he just wanted the 2-day-old boy, Anthony Boru Kennedy, to get some fresh air. However, several nurses objected, saying his request would violate hospital policy. Kennedy tried to leave anyway, and two nurses claimed he hurt them as they blocked his way. Mount Kisco Town Judge John Donohue, who heard the case without a jury, ruled that Kennedy broke no laws. The judge found that the nurses knew Kennedy planned to return and was not absconding with the baby. Kennedy, 45, is the 10th of 11 children of Robert and Ethel Kennedy.
Actress custody case
A judge on Tuesday determined that teen actress Ariel Winter’s mother should not regain custody of the ‘‘Modern Family’’ star and the 14-year-old should remain in her sister’s care for the next several weeks. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas issued the ruling after considering a report by child protective investigators that was critical of Winter’s mother, Chrisoula Workman. The report found there was evidence of emotional abuse toward Winter, Levanas said, and the agency planned to step in and take its own action if Winter did not remain in a guardianship. The ruling comes more than six weeks after Workman was temporarily stripped of custody amid allegations she had been physically and emotionally abusive to Winter. Workman has denied all accusations that she was abusive to her daughter.
“If they want to be miserable, that’s up to them.” — Anthony Hopkins, to the Huffington Post, on actors who choose to stay in character for the duration of a film production.