It turns out that the very viral "Jew-Hating Elmo" is actually more disturbing than a cute Sesame Street character engaging in an anti-Semitic rant. That Elmo is a guy named "Adam Sandler" who's banned from Cambodia for his "Welcome to Rape Camp" pornographic website. "The police asked me not to come here today," Sandler, the anti-Semitic Elmo fresh from a psychiatric evaluation, told The New York Times' Michael Wilson on Tuesday, but hasn't been heard from since. "I’m sort of sneaking back in."
Yeah, we recognize there's a lot of nonsense in that first paragraph too. But Sandler made a name for himself in recent weeks--to the tune of over 200,000 YouTube views (graphic video below), stories in the New York Daily News, and mentions on sites like Gawker and Gothamist--for being the Elmo in Central Park who says crazy things--like he works for John Gotti, his unique brand of expletive-peppered rants, and his viral anti-Semitic tirade which ended with Sandler being carted away in an ambulance.
As Wilson found out, the story gets even more perturbing. "[Sandler] traveled to Cambodia and started a pornographic Web site called 'Welcome to the Rape Camp,'" and discovered that the Cambodian police arrested Mr. Sandler in 1999 and deported him. "I had a sex scandal," Sandler tells Wilson.
What Wilson glosses over in Sandler's "sex scandal" is that deportation was actually a blessing for Sandler. Donna Hughes, a professor, for the University of Rhode Island, and the Journal for Asian Law at Columbia, both report that Sandler, who went by the name Dan at the time, was actually facing five years in a Cambodian jail for violating human trafficking laws and sexual exploitation before appealing to U.S. officials who then intervened and got Sandler and deportation. Both reports mention that the site touted "Asian sex slaves." We'd argue that facing five years in jail for human trafficking and sexual exploitation is a bit more serious than a "sex scandal."
Wilson also found out Sandler eventually got a job at the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. as a temp, before becoming the ranting, hospitalized Elmo. He wasn't charged, and according to reports it still isn't clear if Sandler is violating any rules or doing anything illegal by being a foul-mouthed, hateful Elmo. "Obviously, they saw I was not a threat to myself or anybody," he told Wilson. "I got some good sleep."
Here's the rant that landed Sandler in the hospital with a psychiatric evaluation (warning: graphic language):
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.