Elmo will not be denied his rightful place to march the streets of Manhattan along with fellow "Sesame Street" puppets at the 2012 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 22, although Kevin Clash who's voicing the red furry monster has just resigned. A representative for Macy's confirms the kiddies' friend will be brought to life by a different voice actor.
"Elmo will be joining his Muppet friends on the Sesame Street float with an alternate puppeteer bringing him to life," the rep says as quoted by TMZ. "Current events have no bearing on Sesame's participation in the Parade and we are confident their world-renowned, family-friendly entertainment and educational programming will continue to bring kids and families joy for decades."
Kevin resigned from his role as the voice of Elmo after he was hit with a second underage-sex lawsuit. The puppeteer had previously settled a similar allegation by Sheldon Stephens. The first accuser, now in his 20s, claimed he had sex with Kevin starting when he was 16, while the second guy, now 24, confessed he was engaged in sexual behavior with the actor when he was 15.
In the immediate wake of the lawsuit, Kevin said, "I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately." His first accuser remained silent, while the second guy named Cecil Singleton said he was "happy" and "relieved" that the divorced father of a grown-up daughter quit the children's popular show.
Cecil reportedly met Kevin on a gay chat line, and didn't know what he did for a living until years later. "It was essential to him that I not find out who he actually was," the guy said.
Kevin voiced Elmo starting in 1984 and had since helped popularize the red furry monster. The puppet has become a major moneymaker for Sesame Workshop through the sales of toys and other merchandises.
Despite the lawsuit against Kevin, toy maker Hasbro is "confident that Elmo will remain an integral part of Sesame Street and that Sesame Street toys will continue to delight children for years to come."