Robot 6

In wake of crimes, a call for crackdown on NYC’s costumed characters


No sooner had one Times Square Spider-Man been acquitted of attempted assault (but convicted of harassment) than another was accused of groping a woman, leading to calls for regulation of the area’s costumed characters.

“In the last 10 days alone, we’ve seen two Statues of Liberty arrested, a Spider-Man convicted of harassing a tourist, and now a third character arrested for groping a woman in Times Square,” Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said in a statement obtained by CBS New York. “The situation is out of control and a licensing and regulatory scheme must be put in place.”

Tompkins stressed that he doesn’t endorse an outright ban on costumed types, but rather would like to see New York City adopt a licensing system. Something along the lines of the Superhuman Regulation Act, perhaps?

According to the TV station, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. proposed legislation last year that would ban or institute strict regulations on the city’s costumed characters. The president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association endorsed licensing in 2013 after a Cookie Monster allegedly shoved a child.



Some fans of cosplay would absolutely love this… to have their own government-issued card certifying them a figure of public performance art.

Whether it’s actually a good idea or not, heck if I know.

So. You don’t get arrested if you’re wearing a costume? Assault is assault. Right? What about the guy on the subway who does the same thing

That photo of Iron Man is missing a caption about how he’s threatening to throw Hello Kitty into a Negative Zone prison if she doesn’t register.

It’s “Civil War” all over again. Cap won’t stand for it!

Ricardo Torres

June 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm

It’s like Civil War all over again!!!!!!!! hope spidey doesn´t unmask and that World War Hulk and Secret Invasion don´t follow next

talk about overreaction, lol

“for the third time this week, in a city of millions, someone wearing a hat committed a crime. Therefore, all hats must now be registered with the Hats, Gloves, and Scarves Interior Defense Department”


It’s the Super Hero Registration Act all over again. Any day now we’re going to see Sentinels looming over our cities.

Glad I’m not the only one who thought of Civil Wr and the Superhuman Registration Act.

Someone explain to me how “licensing” and regulating could stop people in costumes in times square from doing anything like groping or pushing someone?

Our legal titans hard at work as always I see…what would the world succumb to if they weren’t fighting the good fight?

“In the last 10 days alone, we’ve seen two Statues of Liberty arrested, a Spider-Man convicted of harassing a tourist, and now a third character arrested for groping a woman in Times Square,”

The people who commited a crime were caught! Case closed!
There are plenty of people who dress up that do not commit crimes.
No need to be LAZY by enforcing ‘licensing’ and ‘regulation’.

I really hope marvel comics will do ‘Civil War II’.
I saved myself a lot of money by not buying any marvel comic during that event because all the marvel characters were, to me, portrayed as mockeries of their true character. THANK YOU Mark Millar!

Mummra the ever living

June 25, 2014 at 5:24 am

How is this even remotely workable? How would you define a costume? If a guy wears a t-shirt with a skull on it is he dressed as the Punisher? If I wear a Superman Tee do I need a license? If I have a white streak in my hair am I Max Damage? If a blonde dresses like a wh*re is she Emma Frost?

Licensing these people seems way too open to interpretation and therefore abuse!

Toys R Us on Times Square sells kids costumes- would they need a license to sell these goods?

Feels a bit more like Powers than it does Civil War!

I live in NYC and walk past these dirty characters daily. The costumes are typically very dirty and dingy, and they are worn in a half-assed fashion (costume not fully on, etc). I have to say, they never approach me and I have never seen them harass people (but am definitely not surprised at reports saying they do). I figured this was an unregulated thing, and could tell most of these costumes are people who wandered out to Time Square to try to make a few bucks posing for pictures. The guys next to them, with the tables selling hats, posters, etc are required to have a permit, so why shouldn’t they? Unless they are legitimately saving lives and fighting Super Villains using their uncanny abilities, Costumed character “performers” should be vetted and required to have a permit.

Wow, just saw that people who don’t understand the situation and clearly don’t live in NYC are weighing in on the topic. let’s be clear – NO ONE KNOWS WHO THEY ARE AND THEY ARE NOT ACCOUNTABLE TO ANYONE. IT IS NOT SAFE AND IT IS A LIABILITY.

these people are not fans expressing their passion for a character by wearing their shirt or cosplaying. These are anonymous people looking to make a buck by posing with tourists, they somehow got ahold of a second hand Mickey Mouse or Woody from Toy Story costume and use them to stand in the busiest intersection in the country panhandling. Performers and Venders in NYC are required to get a permit. These folks should be no different. This isn’t “Marvel’s Civil War” and this isn’t persecution against fans. It’s simple regulation of an increasingly unsafe situation.

@JokerNuts – the original article said nothing about them posing for pictures and panhandling. It only mentioned the costumed people who were arrestees for breaking the law (harassment, assault etc). So your diatribe about how they need to be regulated doesn’t hold any water. Any person, in costume or not, can stand around in Times Square and not be known or accountable to anyone. If i were to venture to the cesspool of a city (heaven help me) and stand on the street without a costume, no one would know who I was. But guess what, I am still accountable to following the laws of the city, and that my friend is what the ones that were arrested, were not doing. Costume or not if you break the law, you get arrested or fined.

@Brandon M – You obviously know nothing about what goes on in Times Square, so why would you argue with someone who says they live in NYC and walks past these people daily. People in costume standing around in Times Square to pose for pictures and make a quick buck is a pretty well known thing – I live in Texas, never been to NYC, and I’m well aware of it from documentaries and news reports. It doesn’t take more than an modicum of common sense to know that’s who the article is talking about. The reference to them being unaccountable is because they’re relatively anonymous, seeing as they are in costume and therefore hard to identify. If the police show up to arrest Spider-Man for assault and there are 12 of them standing around, who is to say which one was the culprit unless there having been witnesses keeping eyes on him non-stop.

Pull your head out of your politics, and quit trying to tell somebody who lives with the situation why they’re wrong.

Does this remind anyone else of Civil War?

I work in Times Square too, and those guys are nothing but a nuisance. They’re a blight on the city. Aside from the annoyance of them crowding already packed sidewalks, there’s no one to hold them accountable for any of their behavior, and some of them can be downright nasty. JokersNuts is absolutely right in that they’re not doing this because they’re fans, they’re trying to make money off the tourists. They’re underhanded too, they’ll approach families, the children in particular, who get excited about taking a photo with Mickey Mouse or Spiderman or whoever, and then the parents are almost obligated to take the photo so they don’t disappoint their kids, and they don’t always know that these creeps expect to be paid. I’ve seen people take a photo & then try to walk away, only for the costumed cretins to harass & harangue them for a couple bucks for the .5 second of their life it took to take a pic, even though the payment is considered a tip, which by definition alone, is not mandatory, but try telling that to one of those guys.

Like a few others have already said, the vendors all need licenses to do what they do, these guys should as well, because that will keep the number of incidences to a minimum, and they won’t be able to trick gullible tourists into taking a paid photo, they’d have to be honest upfront about the “tip”. Which would most likely cut back on the number of people they dupe day in & day out.

PS – Brandon M, if you think NYC is such a cesspool, I’d love to visit the Shangri La you call home one day. It sure doesn’t sound like you’ve ever even been here. So what even gives you that idea? Too many comics & too much TV I’d wager. Because if it WAS the cesspool that you so righteously claim it is, then why is it one of the most popular tourist destinations on the entire planet? Could it be a bit of jealousy because no one cares to vacation in whatever backwater shithole you hang your hat in?

Frankly, there does need to be some sort of permitting going around. I have been in NYC. New York was my second home growing up. Costumed characters and street performers are part of the local color but no one knows what lies behind those costumes. On another board, a woman posted about being harassed by one of those Statues.

And yes, BrandonM, just because the article failed to properly address the situation in the hopes of stirring up the comic bois and grrls, doesn’t mean that Joker is wrong. The article is missing a lot of information on the situation. Like Woody not keeping his hands to himself, or the Cookie Monster that assaulted a child.

I am a Marvel-phile, pure and simple, and I feel that this article only serves to stir the pot and doesn’t do anything to address the legitimate safety concerns.

They should be banned.

The companies which own the licenses s/b issuing cease & desists.

They’re a hazard, they’re a constant annoyance, and they cause far more problems than anyone in a funny costume ever should (excluding Power Girl).

Leave a Comment


Browse the Robot 6 Archives