Bill proposed to regulate cartoon characters in Times Square - New York News

Bill proposed to regulate cartoon characters in Times Square

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

New York City legislators are cracking down on the cartoon characters that roam Times Square.

City Councilman Andy King drafted a bill that would create a licensing system that includes background checks for the characters, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The proposal is in response to incidents occurring between characters and the public. In April 2013, a person dressed as Cookie Monster was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. In June, a person dressed as Spiderman was arrested for groping a woman. The characters have also been known to harass pedestrians.

The corporate creators of characters like Elmo and Hello Kitty have voiced concerns about the misrepresentation of their brand by the workers. 

“We care about our fans and the image of our brand,” said Myung Kang-Huneke, executive vice president of Sesame Workshop, the owners of Elmo and Cookie Monster to the Wall Street Journal. “Like everyone else, we care about public safety on our streets.”

King’s hope is the bill would improve interactions between the characters and the public. “I am particularly concerned adults are dressing up in kids character costumes and pretty much harassing or even begging for money to take a picture,” said King to the WSJ.

The Times Square Alliance, a non-profit business improvement organization, supports the bill.

Approximately 76 characters were working in Times Square as of June 14, according to the Times Square Alliance.

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