A man who dressed as Mr. Incredible, the superhero dad from the hit animated movie, was convicted of battery for beating a woman dressed as Batgirl on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Los Angeles City Attorney said Tuesday.
Muhammet Bilik, 35, was sentenced to three years probation, 20 days of California Department of Transportation work, 36 anger-management sessions, as well as one day in jail for the fight, prosecutors said. He is also banned from the Hollywood Entertainment District.
"Hollywood Blvd. is famous around the globe and attracts millions of visitors every year. We must keep it safe," said City Attorney Mike Feuer in a statement. "The characters who interact with children and family along Hollywood Blvd. have to obey the law."
The beating, caught on a video that went viral, shows Bilik in a red costume and black mask covering his eyes body slamming and punching the woman dressed as Batgirl in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre as costumed Chewbacca and Waldo try to restrain him.
A couple of weeks later, the victim came forward and confirmed the masked man’s identity, prosecutors said.
This conviction is one of seven cases in the past six months involving costumed characters, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Captain America, and Superman, Feuer said.
The rash of cases is leading some to worry about the safety of the characters and tourists.
"For him to do something like that just ruins it for us," said a man dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow from the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean." "It makes us look bad."
Added a costumed Spider Man: "There's kids around. There's tourists around, families that are just coming here just to have a good time."
Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who represents Hollywood, has been trying to figure out ways to make sure the characters aren't a danger.
He says one possibility is to ask private businesses such as the Hollywood and Highland complex to hire their own characters.
"That could require background checks and some sort of formal process," he said. "It's what they do in Las Vegas. It's what they do in other locations. I would love to see Hollywood take that type of step forward."
O'Farrell says what the city can do is limited because the characters have a First Amendment right to be on public sidewalks.
Spider Man and Captain Jack hope that any action the city takes makes a distinction between those who make trouble and those who do not.
"It's not everyone," Spider Man said. "It's just certain people."
Four years ago the LAPD conducted a crackdown on Hollywood Boulevard street characters. The sweeps led to a lawsuit which a judge ruled violated their First Amendment rights.