NYC Knockoff Costumed Characters To Form Labor Union

PhilHaney by PhilHaney on Aug. 12, 2014

Getting a “Times Square Elmo” sounds like a dirty sex move to begin with. However, now Times Square Elmo might become the “Jimmy Hoffa” of costumed panhandlers as a group of them plan to unionize. In an effort to curb harassment of tourists the NYPD has posted signs and passed out flyers in an informational campaign explaining that tipping the characters is optional. Now all the Elmos, Iron Mans, Shreks and Pooh Bears are joining forces to fight the fuzz. 50 of them are meeting with a rights group, La Fuente, to see how they can become stronger as one. -It’s just like The Avengers, if The Avengers took pictures with kids for beer money and weren't allowed within 50 yards of school zones.

Tipping is Optional If You Enjoy Being Yelled At By Super Mario

Back in the 1970’s and 80’s New York City’s Time Square was known as place where you could go to get a cheap prostitute. That was until the 90’s when the “Disneyfication” and cleanup of the area got rid of the street hookers, turning it into a more family friendly area. This had the unintended consequence of attracting whores of a different kind; costumed, unlicensed, knockoff characters who take photos for tips. It would be all in good fun, but some bad apples- er Elmos - have ruined it for everyone.  Remember “Racist Elmo” who made headlines a few years ago for going on an anti-Semitic rant in front of the kids? Here is one of his classics:

“Hindus Rape Children”

Now some people are probably wishing that the prostitutes were back; at least when they F’d you, you expected it. In recent months reports have surfaced of characters taking photos with tourists only to demand increasing amounts of money; A parent offered one character a dollar only to have him demand $5- $20. In July a Spiderman got into a scuffle with police who arrested him. In addition to reports of characters groping tourists – my spidey senses are tingling-like I’m going to vomit.

This costume character trend has spread across the country to other iconic locations from The Las Vegas Strip, New Orleans’ Bourbon Street to LA’s Hollywood Boulevard– basically all the formerly sleazy places. You can get a semi homeless person dressed up in a sweaty costume to put their arm around your five year old for a photo anyplace you'd never let them go at night on their own.

Union Thugs or Misunderstood Furries?

Who is right here? Should the police protect tourists from aggressive and possibly dangerous costumed characters? Or should the characters be allowed to unionize? Will we see Captain America and Darth Vader down at the Local 689 having a drink and voting to get health care coverage so Optimus Prime can get meds for his back pain?

Loves learning letters, hates Mexicans.

Some of the characters have contended that they are recent immigrants and only a few of the characters are bad and ruining the opportunity for the others who are just trying to support their families. What do you think?

Tip Phil Haney on Twitter @PhilHaney