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Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

The Curious Case of the Criminal Cookie Monster

Nickie Phillips


The incident involving Cookie Monster shoving a little boy in Times Square has led to proposed legislation to regulate, if not ban, persons dressed in costumes in New York City.

The “cookie monster” was arrested and charged with assault, child endangerment and aggressive begging. He denied the charges and is due back in court on May 1.

As a result of this (and other incidents), city Councilman Peter Vallone is attempting to regulate, or ban altogether, persons dressed in costumes. AM New York reports that Vallone supports the move because the aggressive and offensive behavior "could ruin Times Square’s image as a safe place for tourists and New Yorkers.”

While not a particularly lucrative job, those in costumes, many of whom are immigrants, are trying to make a living. While accepting a tip is not illegal, assault certainly is. But what is the true connection between the costume and the crime? Certainly something can be worked out here so that all the law-abiding Cookie Monsters can continue on. Not to mention that proposing a ban on costumed characters brings up serious First Amendment issues.

Bleeding Cool asks the obvious: What does this mean for Comic Con? Will Superman and Green Lantern be arrested on their way to the Javits Center? Defending Sesame Street characters just might be a job for Captain America.