Why Anti-Semitic Elmo is Creepier—and Less Funny—Than We Had Thought

The 48-year-old ran a pornography website in Cambodia before buying the plush Sesame Street costume and posing with children for tips Read More

By / June 28, 2012

What began as the kind of “weird and funny, but a tad disturbing” story endemic to New York has skewed irrevocably toward the latter. Anti-Semitic Elmo is, as one might have guessed, a troubled (and possibly mentally ill) man. The New York Times managed to talk to the person under the mask—his legal name is Adam Sandler—and discovered that his background includes a stint running a pornography site in Cambodia called “Welcome to the Rape Camp.”

Sandler, who is 48, was eventually thrown out of Cambodia (for reasons unclear, though apparently in connection with the site), and later ended up temping for Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. He started the Elmo act—and bought his costume online for $300—after noticing how well some Elmo impersonators were doing in Times Square.

You really should read the whole profile. While we had some fun with the story the first time around, this closer look casts into relief the initial episode, which seems to be but the latest incident of trouble for a man who has demons, mental and otherwise, that he seems unlikely to escape.