Evil Elmo curses at New York City tourists and in San Francisco - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Evil Elmo curses at NYC tourists

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NEW YORK CITY (CNN) -

Parents are saying a man dressed in an Elmo costume is a menace and is loose in San Francisco.

The so-called "Evil Elmo" first appeared in New York.

"Evil Elmo" in New York City is a caustic, cursing character flinging obscenities and religious epitaphs.

Sunday, he or his clone decided to hit Rossi Park in San Francisco.

"Kids are just lured in and tricked and the parents follow their children and then there's the onslaught of the obscenities which I think is terrible," parent Jennifer Longaway said.

"The thought that somebody could be using something so innocent, and also having such kind of a devious idea to do that...I mean it's, it's gross," parent Marla Kadlecek said.

A critical question seems to be, when do Evil Elmo's free speech rights begin to cross into other people's rights including the folks that own the rights to "Tickle Me Elmo."

"This is something most companies will tell you they need to deal with one way or the other," intellectual property attorney Marina Lewis said.

Lewis said "Evil Elmo" could be courting a lawsuit.

"When you're using it first of all to sort of bootstrap your own idea, something that's completely unrelated to the IP owner, that's when you can get into some real trouble," she said.

One of the parents found a rental car where they saw him sleeping and took a picture of the man and the Elmo suit in a bag walking to catch a bus.

While posing for pictures, Elmo denied he was the "Evil Elmo," but said, "I don't think it's a David Duke guy in an Elmo costume. I think people are harassing him because they don't like the federal rulings on trademarks."

The person dressed up as the character charges a dollar for a picture while blurting out obscenities in between.

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