Costumers plying tourists for money isn’t anything new in Times Square: stop by and you’ll likely see a variety of characters to take a picture with, for a small fee. Now, the NYPD is asking Disney to help crack down.
On August 20th, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced a task force to address the problem of costumers and topless individuals at the square:
“Millions of families and visitors come to Times Square every year to see and experience the bustling metropolis of New York City – the Crossroads of the World,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Yet that experience has been diminished by the proliferation of topless individuals and costumed characters who too often harass people and expose families to inappropriate acts. To ensure all are welcome, and to continue the great success that is Times Square, the City will aggressively pursue every avenue for regulating these behaviors. This task force will identify the best legal and regulatory ways to move forward and keep Times Square the popular destination site for visitors and families from New York City and across the world.”
In response, the NYPD has attempted to solicit the help of Disney, which owns the depicted characters, to try and help in their efforts, by getting them to threaten individual costumers with copyright infringement. According to CNN Money however, the company is trying to avoid getting involved:
“We have been for years working with previous and current administrations as well as the city council trying to get legislation passed that would require registration and identification of these costumed characters,” [Disney spokeswoman Zenia Mucha] said.
CNN goes on to note that a number of incidents and ‘aggressive solicitation’ in the last two years between costumers and tourists have prompted the creation of the task force.
Image credit: AP Images