Okabe & Haushalter - San Francisco Articles “Evil Elmo” Travels To San Francisco

“Evil Elmo” Travels To San Francisco

By Okabe & Haushalter  Oct. 23, 2012 10:06a

Street Performer Moves To West Coast Seeking Friendlier Atmosphere

A man originally hailing from New York has decided to come to San Francisco, hoping that law enforcement officials will be more tolerant of his act, he told reporters. Media outlets dubbed the costumed actor "Evil Elmo" after his arrest in New York earlier this year.

According to recent reports, the performer has moved his act out of Manhattan after he was arrested by members of the NYPD in September. Dressed in a bright pink costume of Elmo from popular children's TV show Sesame Street, he would walk around the crowded city square and endeavor to take pictures with tourists, attempting to leverage the juxtaposition between his cartoony costume with his foul-mouthed humor. He lives off tips and small donations, which he keeps in a box around the neck.

In 2009, the man made headlines for harassing tourists with his picture-hunting antics, yelling obscenities at them if they refused to pay after he insinuated himself into their photos. He also became infamous for going off on anti-Semitic rants that many bystanders felt crossed the line to threats and hate speech. Law enforcement officers were unable to take action, however, saying his actions were protected by the First Amendment.

Things came to a head, however, in September 2012, when officers finally arrested the man after receiving reports of the costumed character harassing tourists in Central Park and hurling religious slurs. He was caught on camera screaming obscenities while authorities took him away in an ambulance.

The arrest forced the man to pack up and leave for warmer climes, he told reporters after resurfacing in San Francisco. The SFPD received reports of the costumed man "trying to hug kids" in Rossi Park, but they left shortly afterwards, claiming that he wasn't breaking any laws. He has since been interviewed at his new location at Fisherman's Wharf, where he claims he has made far more money than he ever did in the Big Apple. Police say they are aware of the situation and are monitoring him closely.

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