Times Square in New York is not Disney World but tourists love to take photos with costumed characters. The not quite Dora the Explorer, Cookie Monster, Hello Kitty and a whole bunch of other non-authorized costume characters have become a fixture in the middle of Manhattan. However, these unsavory characters, besides being trademark and copyright infringers, have had their fair share of bad press and an assault on a police officer may have been the last straw.
This past weekend, a man dressed like Spider-Man got into a spat with a tourist over a tip. After allowing her to take a photograph a woman gave the counterfeit Spider-Man a $1 tip which he refused and demanded a greater pay-off. An officer overheard the exchange and told imitation Spidey, one Junior Bishop, he can accept tips but cannot demand money from people. Bishop gave the officer a fine New York greeting containing an f-bomb and told him to mind his own business. When Bishop was unable to produce identification to the officer he was arrested. At one point during the arrest Bishop, pulled away from the officer and allegedly punched him in the face. The phony Peter Parker was charged with assault and a myriad of other crimes.
This is just one in a line of unsavory incidents between the costumed characters and the good citizens of Gotham. Recently, a different Spider-Man was arrested for allegedly groping someone; a Cookie Monster was charged with endangering the welfare of a child after allegedly shoving a two year old boy; and a dirty Big Bird was caught on film yelling racial epithets at passersby.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and the Times Square Alliance are calling on regulation that would license the people behind the masks. Also of a concern is the fact that these people are violating companies’ trademarks and copyrights by creating unauthorized costumes. These trademarks are further tarnished and diluted by the bad acts of these furry panhandlers. The City Council is looking into these issues and hopefully will expeditiously solve this problem.