Selfies are free, or at least they should be!
A UK tourist was confronted and chased down by a group of infamous masked Times Square characters as he shed light on one of New York City’s “biggest scams.”
Husnain Asif, a content who was also featured in Netflix’s follow-up, real-life gameshow to “Squid Game,” snapped photos alongside costumed icons such as Mickey Mouse, Elmo and friends.
When Husnain’s finished taking his selfie, the TikTok creator quickly says, “thank you!” before the group starts hounding him for money.
“Money!” one of the characters demand, to which Husnain refutes, “I don’t have money!”
The group then follows Husnain, demanding he delete the photo since he didn’t pay them
“Woah, woah, Mickey Mouse is after me,” Husnain says as he escapes the group. “Don’t fall for the scam people!”
A character who portrayed Minnie Mouse flashes her rear at the man, who warns his fellow tourists that “you don’t have to pay them. You can just walk off.”
“You should be at home if you don’t have money,” one character quipped.
Following the warning, a festive-looking Grinch quickly walked toward Husnain to remove him from the area.
“Everybody, free photos,” Husnain yells to the crowd.
Tourists have reported being hustled by the friendly, fuzzy characters for years, charging people prices ranging from $10 to $50 just for a picture — and in some cases hundreds in scams
In 2019, forty-seven percent of New Yorkers said they’ve had an “unpleasant interaction” with forceful characters or street hustlers.
The costumed characters have long caused issues in the streets of NYC, which eventually led city officials to pass a law that discontinued the practice of costumed characters and other swindlers from loitering near designated zones to solicit tourists.
Characters are permitted to dress however they want, though the law prohibits them from hustling tourists for their money and blocking traffic.
Many social media users were unaware they didn’t have to pay for a photo.
“I didn’t realize that you had to pay them and the status [sic] of Liberty chased me on stilts I had to hide in toys r us it still traumatizes me to this day,” one commenter says.
“I remember they made me transfer them $20 through cashapp 🥴😩😭,” another person replied.