Fisherman's Wharf fixture Dan Sandler, a.k.a. Evil Elmo, is back! He's making headlines again just six weeks after a pair of Chronicle pieces in which we learned of a recent scuffle with some street youths in which he felt he was wrongly being accused of being a child molester. But, much like the rants that got him run out of New York in 2012, Sandler was once again witnessed on a loud tear on an outbound L-Taraval last Friday, and it was characteristically anti-Jew, and crazy sounding.
Muni rider Randy Meyers reported this SFGate's blog, saying he noticed a guy on a rant and saw that he had a red Elmo costume in a bag next to him. "He started talking about Fisherman’s Wharf as Jew Town, and the Jews this and the Jews that, in a derogatory, racist fashion,” Meyers said. “I was getting upset. There were kids in the cars, young girls listening."
In point fact, Sandler seems to be a mentally unstable person who would like to make a living putting on an Elmo costume and taking photos with tourists, and then yelling at them. He does occasionally get cited for aggressive panhandling when he harasses those families who take pictures of him without tipping. Merchants on the Wharf refer to him as "a problem," but can't do much about him unless he gets really loud.
Before decamping to San Francisco in 2012, Sandler was well known to our New York counterparts after having to be dragged out of the Central Park Zoo in handcuffs, in an ambulance, after a particularly loud and obscenity-filled rant. Then they found out about the Cambodian porn site he used to run, Welcome to Rape Camp that was so gross it was the subject of an academic paper. The incident in March was sparked by some street kids, responding to his bad behavior, who put a sign that said "Rape-O" next to him and pulled a knife on him, telling him he needed to stay away from kids. But as SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza has said, you can't cite someone for "being crazy."
The Chronicle went on to get Sandler on the record in his own defense in March. And yes, it's pretty amusing.
Yes, Sandler said in an interview with The Chronicle, he once ran a pornographic website in Cambodia called Welcome to Rape Camp.
Yes, he recently spent time in jail for trying to extort $2 million out of the Girl Scouts of America. And yes, he made anti-Semitic remarks that caused a stir in New York's Central Park.
Sandler said his antagonists are hiding their real motivation retaliation for his activism against pharmaceutical companies and billionaire Michael Milken's foray into K-12 education. He believes he is the victim of a well-organized smear campaign.
His anti-Semitic rants, he said, were directed only at Milken. Sandler said he doesn't hate Jews and is, in fact, Jewish.
Sandler, who was released from jail in January following his sentence in the Girl Scouts case, said he likes dressing up as Elmo in San Francisco because there's less competition than in New York or Las Vegas. He said he's never aggressive, though he was cited by police for aggressive panhandling on Sunday.
He said he hopes to stay in San Francisco until Thanksgiving, and then head back to Hawaii and, maybe, check out Colorado and Washington, D.C., as well.
"I just want people to leave me alone," he said. "I just want to do my Elmo stuff."
So, got that? He's the victim. Those street kids are colluding with Michael Milken. He was a rape-themed pornographer (but it was only because the ladies weren't attractive enough for regular porn, he said) but is definitely not a pedophile. And he mostly just hates Israelis and Zionists, not Jews. As he apparently said in response to SFGate's inquiries about his most recent rant, "I was just saying that people should boycott Israeli and Zionist businesses on the Wharf and Pier 39 because stores connected to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf are encouraging harassment against me. Many of these stores are Israeli-owned."
He just wants to do his Elmo stuff and rail against Israel, okay!? You may want to keep small children away, just because his rants are scary. And if he angrily calls you a Jew because you wouldn't give him a dollar, feel free to call a cop over. Those aggressive panhandling tickets must be piling up.