If you’ve ever walked down Hollywood Boulevard, you’ve probably seen panhandlers dressed up as Superman, Jack Sparrow or Pikachu asking for money to pose with them. And, If you’ve ever wanted a picture of sadness, paying a buck for snapshot of yourself with a sweat-stained, skinny Superman is actually a pretty good bargain. These heroes even have their own documentary called Confessions of a Superhero.
But it turns out not everyone were fans. After complaints from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the costumed copyright infringers were banned and several were arrested. Well, a judge has now ruled that their hanging around begging for money was a form of free speech and their right to “perform” had to be protected. By “performing,” the judge clearly means standing around hassling tourists all day… so keep that in mind they next time you see a wino performing on your street corner with his magnum opus, “Hey buddy, quarter? QUARTER!?”
I’ll admit, those guys (and their Times Square brethren) have always bothered me, not for the copyright theft, but because they never get their costumes right. I mean, I always see a Spider-man wearing hiking shoes or a Wonder Woman with a big, black fanny pack over her star-spangled briefs. I know they’re poor, but if this is really their profession, they can at least take pride in it.
And if you ever thought these guys might be dangerous, I feel the need to point out that back in 2006, a Freddy Krueger performer stabbed a guy…with his own finger knives. I can’t sum up the ridiculousness of that any better than comedian Paul F. Tompkins:
Video after the jump:
|Paul F. Tompkins – True Stabbing Story|