New York, NY – Times Square is the commercial epicenter intersecting Midtown Manhattan, one of the five boroughs, within New York City. It is iconic for its illuminated billboards, movie palaces, restaurants, corporate and commerce industries, and has been the site of the annual New Year’s Eve (Waterford Crystal) ball drop since 1907. It lures in millions of tourists every year, and has been featured countless times in literature and film.
Mario is a fictional character from the video game Mario franchise. Mario, the token mascot for Nintendo, is depicted as an Italian plumber, often donned in long sleeved red shirt, and blue overalls. Since 1981, he has been featured in numerous games like Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., and Super Mario Bros. This familiar figurehead represents the best-selling video game franchise to date.
On Wednesday, December 19, 2012 Mario was arrested. To be more accurate, Super Mario impersonator, 34-year-old Damon Torres, was arrested in New York City’s Times Square. As part of the ‘Crossroads of the World’ experience, Torres, along with other costumed characters, was hired to engage and pose with tourists for photographs. Per The Huffington Post, Torres was detained after groping the thigh of a woman in front of 4 Times Square (The Condé Nast Building). The performer was also charged with marijuana possession.
According to the Dailymail, the Mario imitator wasn’t the first fictional character arrest in Time Square. Back in September, Elmo, a beloved red puppet best known from the television program Sesame Street, was hauled off in handcuffs after supposedly shouting anti-Semitic slurs at bystanders. 48-year-old Adam Sandler, not the actor, was hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation.
Both represent conduct very unbecoming of adored childhood characters.