After String Of Crimes, Times Square Considers Its Own Superhero Registration Act
Following a few incidents of costumed characters in Times Square committing crimes --most recently, one where a Spider-Man allegedly groped a tourist, which came after another Spider-Man was convicted of harassment -- the president of Times Square Alliance, Tim Tompkins, is putting his foot down. He's calling for all the Times Square characters -- superheroes, Sesame Street characters, Disney princesses and all others --to be licensed and regulated.
Some commentators have joked that the proposal is akin to the Superhero Registration Act from Marvel's Civil War series, but, of course, the big difference here is that the costumed characters aren't vigilantes and do-gooders; they're actors who are for all intents and purposes, running a business. Licenses are required of most business owners, and indeed, of many street performers. This wouldn't be all that unusual.
That said, licensing and regulation has proven to be difficult in the other spot where many costumed characters congregate, along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, specifically outside TCL Chinese Theater. Back in 2010, a federal judge actually stopped police from giving people in costumes special attention, citing their rights to free speech. That crackdown came after a similar call for licensing after reports of excessive panhandling and even fights.
So if there aren't going to be specific regulations, let's at least adopt some guidelines, huh? If you dress up in a Spider-Man costume, don't be a creep.