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Larry David Should Really Listen To Wil Wheaton

Wil Wheaton at the 2nd annual Star Trek Day celebration

Wil Wheaton has called out Larry David for attacking Elmo on live television. While his statement has resulted in cruel mocking online, he makes a valid point regarding the necessity of considering how child abuse survivors may perceive certain things.

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David, an actor and comedian best known for starring in Curb Your Enthusiasm, recently appeared on the Today show. He quickly made headlines after an odd incident in which he was seen attacking the muppet character Elmo. The Today show hosts were “checking in with Elmo” when David suddenly walked in on the segment, shocking the hosts as he grabbed and shook Elmo while gearing up to take a swing at the muppet. The children’s character was on the show to talk about mental health after a simple post asking his followers how they were doing resulted in thousands of comments trauma dumping on Elmo. Later, David said that he got tired of listening to Elmo talk about mental health, so he “throttled him.”

It was a very strange and unfunny moment that understandably drew some criticism. For example, The View host Alyssa Farah Griffin said it was comparable to if he had “attacked Santa” on live television. Elmo is arguably as much of a revered figure for children as Santa is, making David’s action not only unnecessary but potentially upsetting to children. Soon, Wheaton weighed in on the matter with a critical take on how much damage the segment could’ve caused.

Wil Wheaton calls Larry David’s actions “appalling”

Wheaton took to Facebook to share his reaction to the incident. His response was quickly shared to X, where it went viral. Those familiar with Wheaton know that he has long been open about suffering from child abuse and exploitation at the hands of his parents when he was a child actor. As a result, he began his post by explaining how he’d initially refrained from watching the segment as he knew it would be upsetting. After watching it, though, he felt the need to speak out. He wrote:

What the f**k is wrong with that guy? Elmo is, like, the best friend to multiple generations of children. In the Sesame Street universe, ELMO IS A CHILD, who is currently putting mental health and caring for others in the spotlight. And Larry F*****g David … did .. that? And thought it was going to be … funny? What?

He went on to give a “full disclosure” to explain why the incident had such a strong impact on him and triggered his CPTSD. He recalled being grabbed and shaken by his abusive father and experiencing firsthand the terror of an out-of-control, full-grown adult attacking a child. Hence, he wanted to say to David everything he would’ve said to his parents about those experiences. He accused David of being attention-seeking, suggesting he attacked Elmo out of desperation for a viral moment and to place the focus back on himself rather than the conversation about mental health.

Wheaton concluded by pointing out how the muppet was there to “talk about empathy, love, kindness, and caring for each other.” Yet, the moment was ruined because David wanted the attention to be on him for the promotion of his TV show. He ended with a scathing statement telling the actor to “read the room” and “understand there are larger things in the world” than his ego.

Why Wheaton’s statement is important

Wheaton makes a very valid point in his statement about the necessity of thinking through how one’s actions impact others. David likely didn’t intend to cause any harm by his actions, but he didn’t stop to think at all about what his attack on a beloved children’s character might look like from a child’s perspective, especially those children who unfortunately have experienced what Elmo did at the hands of an adult. On Sesame Street, Elmo is 3.5 years old. While he’s just a puppet to some, many children do see him as a child just like them.

There’s a growing trend of beloved children’s characters or puppets being made into horror films or put into adult situations or comedy segments. It all seems funny and ridiculous to most, but what about those children who did develop a very strong emotional attachment to these characters? What about the children to whom these characters were their only friends and gave them their only feeling of safety and security? At least with adult-oriented properties like Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, it’s easier for kids and adults to avoid exposure. However, there was no warning for any kids who tuned into the Today show, excited that Elmo had shown up.

Unfortunately, Wheaton’s statement went viral on X, not because of its validity, but so users could mock him. Wheaton has long been an advocate for mental health awareness, abuse survivors, and the LGBTQ+ community. So, of course, a lot of people decided to cruelly mock his very vulnerable statement about being a child abuse survivor with CPTSD. Fortunately, many users stood up to support Wheaton.

Not only is Wheaton’s statement important, but so is the response because it highlights how little understanding and compassion there is for child abuse survivors. Not only does society seldom think about how things impact child abuse survivors differently, but it also has the gall to tell these people that they’re not allowed to feel what they feel when they do find the immense courage to speak out. Additionally, there are many despicable humans out there trying to normalize mocking, belittling, and harassing abuser survivors who speak out.

However, those who are fortunate enough to not even be able to comprehend the concept of experiencing abuse should be the ones listening closely to Wheaton’s statement. They should want to learn and understand how to avoid further hurting those who have already been hurt in ways that most can’t even fathom. Wheaton made a very brave and vulnerable statement that has the potential to help further survivors from being hurt by careless celebrity antics, and anyone who feels the need to shame him is quite openly showing that they have no empathy for child abuse victims and survivors, which is a horrific thing to want to publicize.

(featured image: Kevin Winter / Getty)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.

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