Spider-Man was arrested on Friday, as he reportedly groped a woman in Times Square. Authorities said Moussa Rabaoui, age 22, is a street performer, who dons an elaborate superhero costume. However, instead of saving lives, this Spider-Man was up to no good.
The unidentified victim was posing for a photo when Rabaoui proceeded to grope her breasts and buttocks. When the victim resisted his advances, Spider-Man lost his temper and began to curse her out.
The woman immediately alerted authorities to the situation. Witnesses said Spider-Man attempted to flee on foot. However, he was eventually captured and place in handcuffs. The Spider-Man performer was arrested and charged with touching the woman in a sexual manner without her consent.
Although the situation is somewhat unusual, Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins is not amused.
Street performers have become increasing popular in Times Square and other venues throughout the world. While some performers actually showcase their talents, others simply walk around wearing costumes.
A majority the performers and costumed characters rely on tips as their primary source of income. As reported by Huffington Post, they often work in and around tourist attractions. Although many tourists are willing to pay a few dollars for an interesting photo, Tompkins said the performers are getting out of hand:
“In the last 10 days alone, we’ve seen two Statues of Liberty arrested, a Spider-Man convicted of harassing a tourist, and now a third character arrested for groping a woman in Times Square… The situation is out of control and a licensing and regulatory scheme must be put in place.”
Street performers who become a nuisance can be arrested for loitering. However, there are no laws specifically governing their behavior as performers. In the most recent case, Spider-Man was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. Tompkins applauded the arrest, but he is concerned similar situations will continue to occur.
Although he is pushing for regulations, Tompkins does not want street performers banned. He simply wants to reduce their numbers and regulate their behavior.
As reported by CBS News, there are at least 20 Mickey Mouse street performers in Times Square alone. The overcrowding has become an annoyance at best, specifically for the more serious performers.
Some costumed characters take their jobs very seriously, spending thousands of dollars on elaborate costumes. Others simply throw an outfit together and beg for money. As the streets become overcrowded with performers, the serious performers’ reputations are at stake.
Following Spider-Man’s arrest, Tompkins said something needs to change. He plans to work with business owners and local officials to implement some new rules and regulations.
[Image via Comic Book Resources]