Adam Sandler, the man who has been seen along the beachfront area in a Cookie Monster costume since at least early February, is still in town despite receiving negative public attention. Lookout spoke with him briefly Monday.
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The presence of a man in a Cookie Monster costume at the Santa Cruz Wharf continues to sow discomfort among locals, who have complained to law enforcement.
That continued over the Presidents Day weekend, when police responded to calls on the wharf. The Santa Cruz Police Department has not returned requests for more information on the incidents, but a post on its Instagram account Wednesday evening reiterated advice that the public not to engage with the man. The post says that although he is “exercising his First Amendment rights,” residents should file a police report if they see or experience a criminal act.
A similar post from the Santa Cruz Wharf account notes that he is not employed, contracted or permitted by the City of Santa Cruz, nor by any of the local businesses.
Lookout caught up with the man in the costume, Adam Sandler, on Monday.
Out on the wharf on a sunny holiday weekend, bystanders and passersby gawked at Sandler’s ragged Sesame Street-style costume. One young man angrily confronted Sandler, accusing him of criminal behavior. “Get out of Santa Cruz!” the young man yelled.
In a brief, meandering conversation that ranged from Jeffrey Epstein to President Joe Biden, the only reason Sandler gave for why he chose to come to Santa Cruz is that he likes the city.
He said he is not a bad person and that he is being harassed by “business districts,” citing an earlier court order barring him from several tourist locations in San Francisco as an example of that harassment.
“I was charged with threatening a merchant, but it was dropped down to nothing,” he told Lookout. “The district attorneys are often in with the business districts and I hope it’s not that way here in Santa Cruz.”
Sandler has been spotted at the wharf and around the Beach Boardwalk since at least early February.
Last week, Santa Cruz Police Department spokesperson Joyce Blaschke told Lookout that the department had received calls from concerned residents saying the man dressed as the iconic Sesame Street character made them uncomfortable. At the time, Blaschke said the man has been known to “badger people,” but that he had not been charged with any crime.
According to multiple media reports, Oregon-born Sandler has faced criminal charges in other cities, including New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, for threats against tourists, other street performers and store owners.