"Bad Elmo" of Fisherman's Wharf Defends Reputation

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Joe Rosato Jr.
    The "Evil Elmo" at San Francisco's Fisherman Wharf on Oct. 17, 2012.

    Elmo is not wanted at Fisherman's Wharf. And that makes "Elmo" sad.

    Dan Sandler, 50, is the notorious "Bad Elmo" who's been captured on video on anti-Semitic rants at previous stops in New York City. He'd been in San Francisco before, and returned a few weeks ago -- to an unwelcome reception.

    Businesses in Fisherman's Wharf curse him as a scourge who drives away customers. And "street kids" at the whard have made it their personal mission to run him out of town, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Sandler has a lot against him: he ran a pornographic Web site in Southeast Asia called "Welcome to Rape Camp" and tried to bilk the Girl Scouts of America out of $2 million, the newspaper reported.

    But in a plea for his living -- charging tourists a couple of bucks for a photo with him in his Elmo suit -- Sandler says that the Web site was meant to help women otherwise forced into prostitution.

    In other words, he's just misunderstood, he said.

    In the meantime, Fisherman's Wharf business owners want him gone.