Are Hollywood's superheroes getting the shaft or is the boulevard better off without the costumed characters? Following that recent lawsuit against the city, a handful of characters showed up in front of City Hall today to protest recent arrests by the Los Angeles Police Department. Although the City Council is on recess, Superman aka Christopher Dennis showed off his recent arrest citation to the press, while The Hulk aka Joe McQueen, argued that a screening and permitting process should be in place to allow well-behaved characters the right to make an "honest living" on Hollywood Boulevard, a process that would also weed out the more violent performers and those who "don't know their own character," according to McQueen. "It hurts me to see a Spiderman who doesn't know his lines. The tourists will quiz you."
While the media scrum likely enjoyed a photo shoot scene of superheroes in front of City Hall, it's not clear how much support the characters have elsewhere. Leron Gubler, President & CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, says the city has looked into permitting and decided against it. "The general consensus in the business community is that [Hollywood Boulevard] is better off without the characters," he says, adding that with the addition of the CD vendors, pedestrians are having a difficult time simply walking down the sidewalk. Not that Gubler doesn't respect some of these long-time performers. “Superman has always been a gentleman," says Gubler of Dennis. "He's not caused problems."
And if there are allegations in that recent lawsuit that the LAPD is intimidating characters, Officer Irv Isabella in the Hollywood LAPD Division says there's no outright ban on the performers. "Right now, what’s being enforced are existing laws, including aggressive solicitation and blocking the sidewalk," says Isabella. He adds well-behaved characters are welcome on the boulevard "the same as anyone else." But as of this afternoon, Hollywood Boulevard was superhero-free. "I just was at lunch, and there are no characters on [the boulevard]," says Gubler.
· Displaced Hollywood Characters Sue City, LAPD [Curbed LA]
· No Superhero Spared in Character Crackdown [Curbed LA]
· Another Hollywood Blvd Arrest, And Superhero Community Can Only Ask, Why? [Curbed LA]