EXCLUSIVE: Once again Sesame Workshop is handing out pink slips. Around 30 employees at the producers of Sesame Street were let go today. This comes just more than a year after a dozen employees were shown the door at the non-profit last May. “We at Sesame Workshop are not immune to the challenges of today’s economic environment. After careful review, we have concluded that we must operate, and achieve our strategic priorities with fewer resources. Therefore, we have reluctantly determined that we must reduce our workforce by approximately 10%,” said CEO H. Melvin Ming in a note sent to staff this afternoon. Among those who have been let go are former Newsweek Inc CEO and Nickelodeon executive Tom Ascheim, who joined the company in March 2012 as EVP of the Sesame Learning program. Sesame Learning will be absorbed into other divisions of the company, Ming said today. The CEO also announced that the Corporate Strategy and the Business Systems Programming groups will be dissolved as of July 1st. Sesame Workshop’s Global Education department will also be melded into other units.
UPDATED: Sesame Street producer Sesame Workshop made it official on its blog this morning as a lawsuit was being filed in New York federal court charging Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash with sexual abuse of a minor, according to the Associated Press. The suit — which alleges that Cecil Singleton, then 15 and now an adult, was persuaded by Clash to meet for sexual encounters — marks the second accuser to come forward and allege an underage relationship with the multiple Emmy winner, who has been on the PBS series since 1982. Earlier this month, an unidentified man said he had a sexual relationship with Clash beginning when the man was 16. Clash took a leave of absence after those allegations were made public, but his accuser the next day took back his story, claiming the relationship was adult and consensual, and Clash said he was “relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest”. Here’s Sesame Workshop’s statement today announcing Clash’s departure: