Two Times Square costumed characters got more than they bargained for when they went to work on Saturday. Batman and Spider-Man reported to Times Square as normal to earn tips for taking photos with tourists. However, the duo ended up in a massive brawl when two hecklers began targeting the Batman. According to the Huffington Post, the two “superheros” were working the streets attempting to earn tips by posing for photos. However, two men approached the Batman (41-year-old Jose Escalona-Martinez) and Spider-Man (5-year-old Abdel Elkahezai ) and began gesturing to them and yelling. After an initial heckling, things took a turn for the worse when the men took the calls to a sexual nature. At this point a brawl between one of the hecklers, Batman and Spider-Man ensued. The New York Post reports that things got charged when 23-year-old Thomas Rorke allegedly grabbed Batman from behind, straddled him and yelled,
“I’m gonna f*** you, Batman!”
After the hecklers had grabbed the Batman, Spider-Man attempted to step in for the rescue by shooing the men away. However, Spidey was then made the target when the man proceeded to grab his butt. Spider-Man acted fast and sprayed the sexually offending man in the face with his super-powered spidey web (aka. Silly String). At this point, the dynamic costumed-duo were in it to win it. The duo began pummeling Rorke in the chest and face with their fists. Police report that though Rorke got the worst of it in a fight, the two costumed men also were punched in the altercation. Both costumed men are claiming that Rorke was sexually harassing them and that they had to fight back. A rival Spider-Man, 50-year-old Paul Smith, told the New York Daily News,
“Everybody, no matter what costume they are wearing, has the right to protect themselves. It’s like Stand Your Ground in Florida.”
However, Spider-Man said he feels that sometimes pedestrians “forget we are people” when they begin heckling and harassing the costumed panhandlers. In this case, the Times Square super heroes were both charged with assault and harassment at Manhattan Criminal Court Sunday night. Elkahezai (Spider-Man) was released, while Escalona-Martinez (Batman) was held in lieu of $750 bail. Rorke, who cops said was charged with assault, was released. Meanwhile, The New York Post points out that many in New York are sick of the pestering and peddling of money from costumed characters in Times Square. In fact, they note that the pestering has gotten so bad that council member Andy King has proposed the panhandlers be required to pay $170 for a two-year license. King, a Democrat, proposed new legislation Wednesday that would require them to register with the Department of Consumer Affairs if they wish to continue posing with tourists for tips. This isn’t the first time a costumed hero has been arrested in Times Square. A Spider-Man was arrested after allegedly groping a woman during the photo opp. What do you think? Where the police too harsh on Batman and Spider-Man since the heckler took his calls to a sexual nature? Did the duo have a right to defend themselves, or is it all part of the job as a costumed hero on Times Square?