NEW YORK, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who brought red monster Elmo to life for nearly 30 years, has resigned from "Sesame Street," the New York show's producers said.
Tuesday's announcement comes after a 24-year-old man claimed he began a sexual relationship with Clash when he was 16.
The alleged victim reportedly received a $125,000 settlement to recant his story, but later told TMZ he felt pressured into the deal and was looking for a way to get out of it because he wasn't lying.
Clash has denied the man's allegations and last week took a leave of absence from his job to deal with the fallout from the scandal.
Sesame Workshop said Tuesday he isn't coming back.
"Sesame Workshop's mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential," Sesame Workshop said in a statement issued to The Hollywood Reporter. "Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization.
"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.'"
"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," Clash, 52, said in a statement to People.com Tuesday. "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."
'Lincoln' director Spielberg speaks at Gettysburg
GETTYSBURG, Pa., Nov. 20 (UPI) -- "Lincoln" director Steven Spielberg spoke at a Pennsylvania ceremony marking the 149th anniversary of the 16th president's delivery of the Gettysburg Address.
"The murder of [President] Abraham Lincoln, the loss of Lincoln, is heartbreaking," EW.com reported Spielberg told the crowd gathered for Monday's event commemorating the president's famous 1863 speech at the dedication of Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg.
"And I admit that one of the reasons I wanted to make this film, I wanted -- impossibly -- to bring Lincoln back from his sleep of one-and-a-half centuries even if only for two-and-a-half hours, and even if only in a cinematic dream. ...
"I've never stood any place on earth where it's easier to be humble than here. Gettysburg. Delivering an address," Spielberg said. "Humble hardly covers it. It's not just that I'm standing near where Lincoln stood when he delivered what many people, myself included, consider the most perfect prose poem ever penned by an American. It's not just that I'm speaking where Lincoln uttered words that helped change the course of American history by changing how we understand ourselves and the whole point of American democracy. ... All the glory and all the tragedy we associate with the Civil War resides most palpably, and most indelibly here."
Stephanie Pratt and Julien Chabbott break up
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. reality TV personality Stephanie Pratt has ended her stormy four-month romance with Internet entrepreneur Julien Chabbott, UsMagazine.com reported.
The couple made headlines in August when Chabbott ran over a New York City police officer's foot in his Ferrari Spider. He still faces two misdemeanor charges.
Pratt and Chabbott broke up in September, reconciling shortly after. The couple briefly lived together in New York, but Pratt has since moved back to her home in Los Angeles, UsMagazine.com said.
"I wish him well and I hope we can be friends," Pratt told the celebrity news website.
Rob Schneider's wife gives birth to daughter
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Rob Schneider's manager says the U.S. comedian's wife, television producer Patricia Schneider, has given birth to their first child, a daughter.
Miranda Scarlett Schneider was born last Friday, People.com reported Monday.
"Mommy and Baby [are] happy and healthy!" Rob Schneider said via Twitter.
Rob and Patricia married in April 2011.