Will Wheaton responds to Larry David assaulting Elmo: ‘tone deaf a-hole’


Two weeks ago, Elmo caused a stir when he inadvertently started an international conversation about mental health. Elmo tweeted, “How is everyone doing?” It was a simple question that struck a nerve as so many people, including celebrities, the Biden administration, and the rest of the Sesame Street gang, responded to share their feelings. After that, Elmo and his dad appeared on the Today Show to talk about mental health. Things took a bonkers turn when Larry David rushed the stage to assault Elmo, later explaining that he did it because the beloved children’s character was talking about mental health. Instead of apologizing, he told Seth Meyers that he “would do it again.” It was a really immature and sh–ty thing to do.

Actor Wil Wheaton also thought Larry’s behavior was disturbing. Wil made a Facebook post calling out Larry’s actions, reading him for the tone-deaf a-hole that he is. In the post, he pointed out that Elmo is supposed to be a child. He also talked about being a survivor of childhood abuse himself and how important it is to have an open conversation about mental health, especially one that comes from a safe space like Elmo.

“So I heard about Larry David assaulting Elmo on life television but didn’t watch it until now because I knew it would upset me,” Wil began. “Holy shit it’s even worse than I thought. What the f-ck 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-cking David … did … that? And thought it was going to be … funny? What? What an asshole. What a stupid, self-centered, tone deaf a–hole.”

“Full disclosure: all the time, when I was growing up, my dad would grab me by the shoulders and shake me while he screamed in my face,” Wheaton shared in his lengthy post. “He choked me more than once.”

“He was always out of control, always in a furious rage, and always terrifying,” Wil continued. “I’m a 51-year-old man, and my heart is pounding right now, recalling how I felt when I was a little boy who loved Grover the way today’s kids love Elmo. I really want to know what raced through his tiny little mind, and why there was no voice or person who spoke up to stop him from expressing violence towards a children’s puppet WHO WAS THERE TO TALK ABOUT HOW HIS LOVE AND EMPATHY FOR PEOPLE HAVING A TOUGH TIME MATTERED AND MADE A DIFFERENCE.”

“Elmo and his dad were there to talk about empathy, love, kindness, and caring for each other,” he continued. “Larry David was there to promote the final (thank god, maybe he’ll go away now) season of a television series. Like, read the room, d-ckhead. It isn’t always about you being the center of attention. A nontrivial number of people who none of us will ever know were inspired by it, and that was the last little nudge they needed to make the call or send the email to being healing,” Wil noted. “Elmo probably saved lives and relationships by opening that conversation.”

[From Buzzfeed]

Some people thought that Wil was being too sensitive while others appreciated that he talked about his trauma and empathized with him. Shame on the people who made rude comments regarding his openness about his past and willingness to speak out. I’m fully on Team Wil here. Larry was a smug d*ckhead about assaulting a beloved children’s character on live television. And why? Because he was talking about mental health and Larry thought that was annoying. The other day, Kaiser mentioned that Elmo is a learning and an educational tool. Well, now we know that Larry is just a straight up tool.

Photos credit: Jeffrey Mayer/Avalon, JPI Studios/Avalon

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40 Responses to “Will Wheaton responds to Larry David assaulting Elmo: ‘tone deaf a-hole’”

  1. JanetDR says:

    It was shocking assault! Good for Wil for speaking up. I also do not understand why nobody stopped Larry David. I get that they were shocked as well but there was a real person being attacked as well as a child puppet.
    Poor little Elmo.

    • Yup, Me says:

      Not only is Elmo supposed to be a child, he’s supposed to be a toddler – Elmo’s comminication style and developmental age is comparable to a 3.5 year old.

  2. Digital Unicorn says:

    Lets not forget about the assault on the performer who was doing their job – I hope that person filed charges against David.

    As for Wil – good for him and I didn’t realise the extent of the abuse he suffered as a child, I know he got legally emancipated from them at a young age due to financial abuse but didn’t know everything else. Glad he is speaking out and doing better now.

    • North of Boston says:

      I like that WW mentioned the performers as well. And what a good job he did explaining what Elmo represents in the SS universe and in this moment.

      And that he pointed out one of the worst aspects of LD’s attack is that no one held him accountable, when that lack of abuser/violence accountability is something that often haunts survivors of abuse and compounds their trauma.

      I’m glad the support and understanding outweighs the hateful mean spirited comments, but it’s a shame there are mean spirited comments it the first place.

    • CROWHOOD says:

      It’s too early for me to explain this correctly but one of my biggest pet peeves is “oh that’s just how they are”. To be fair, I find Some of Larry David’s stuff funny but this was unhinged. But if you say anything about it the response is “that’s just how he is”. This happens at work a lot with people being known for: short tempers, long response times, sloppy work Etc. and it has always bugged me because like THATS JUST HOW WE ALL ARE SOME OF US JUST LEARNED TO BE MEMBERS OF A SOCIETY. Of course there are days where I want To yell at work or snap when something is annoying or respond rudely to a coworker but I’ve never wanted to be known for routinely shitty behavior explained away by “that’s just how she is” .

      • bisynaptic says:

        @crowhood, 🎯

      • AmB says:

        “That’s just how they are”, “that’s just how I am” –
        They or you should be better.

      • Bumblebee says:

        ‘I have no filter’ ‘He’s brutally honest’ ‘Can’t you take a joke?’ This is why people don’t complain about bad or abusive behavior. Because it’s turned back on them. So glad you pointed this out.

    • bisynaptic says:

      Agreed. It’s too bad that it still requires courage to speak about being abused, in 2024, but here we are. Wheaton is a courageous man—unlike Larry David.

  3. Inge says:

    Will did not have a happy childhood. His dad was abusive like this, his mom pushed him into acting. So he noticed the signs and called this awful person out on it.

    It’s disgusting that Larry David never apologised. Like Will said to children this is a fellow child, and talking about your feelings is important.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      My heart hurts for Wil. I didn’t know about how difficult his childhood was, but I appreciate him sharing his experience & feelings.

      As for Larry, I suspect there’s plenty that he could unpack in therapy about why a puppet’s expression of empathy prompted his furious assault on live television.

  4. paddingtonjr says:

    Sesame Street, since its premiere, has been a tool for learning and teaching; the audience sees characters who look like them or who are going through something they’re experiencing, big or small, and can feel empowered and heard. The characters are a safe space that the audience feels comfortable confiding in because there is no judgment or meaningless platitudes – just someone, human or puppet, who will always be there and will help you get through whatever it is. Elmo was just trying to be a good friend by asking a question, a question a lot of people had an answer to.

    Ignoring the fact that Larry David attacked a character for opening a dialogue that obviously needed to happen, Elmo is a child in the minds of fans and a fan favorite. There were probably some of little kids watching the show who saw a grown man attack a child. And there’s a human puppeteer inside of Elmo who was attacked, unprovoked, and absolutely no one on set did anything about it. Thank you, Wil, for sharing your story and calling out Larry David for who he iss – an old, bitter has-been who finds attacking a child funny.

  5. Pinkosaurus says:

    Did the morning show ever comment on this, because they should have been the first out of the gate condemning it and barring Larry David from the set or assaulting another guest, or is as this all planned to go “viral”? I refuse to give them the clicks on the video but if it was planned, I hope Sesame Street does not go back.

  6. GMH says:

    Get real, people! He’s a muppet, after all. You can’t assault a non-person!

    • kyliegirl says:

      Anytime you lay your hands on someone it is assault. Many children were watching the show and saw their favorite character, their friend get assaulted and no one helped him. They laughed. What message is that sending? Regardless what you think of Elmo, there is a person behind Elmo. That person was assaulted. We need to stop normalizing violence on others.

    • Blithe says:

      You can attack a symbol though, and such attacks have meaning — as they’re intended to. I guess you missed the puppeteer? Or does the real person in the midst of the assault not matter either?

      This is my second post in under an hour about public assaults being dismissed— raising questions about just whose public assaults get dismissed without consequences , and, of course, why this so often happens.

    • North of Boston says:

      Get real, GMH. there was an actual real person performing as the muppet.

      And if you read Wil’s post, you’d see that real people have real children who were really upset by seeing a grown up throttle a character who to them is a small child.

      Elmo might technically be a character and a puppet, but what he represents, embodies is real. And LD’s actions (assaulting a children’s character a child on live tv with no repercussions). caused real harm. Even before you consider that it derailed, in anger, an important national discussion about mental health and the importance of reaching out when you’re struggling and supporting others when they reach out.

    • BQM says:

      He’s not going to get arrested or something (though the puppeteer could press charges I guess.)

      But people react to non humans being attacked all the time. Other living creatures, especially cute or cuddly ones. People want to get a pitchfork mob out.

      People get outraged at desecration of buildings or monuments or nature sites. You can get arrested for basically an “assault “ on them.

      People who are veterans have had ptsd triggered when the flag was burned or desecrated. The flag isn’t a human, it’s a symbol. Elmo is a symbol for lots of children.

      Luckily I don’t think kids watch the Today Show by and large.

    • Sara says:

      There is a REAL person inside the Muppet and YES the actual person inside the Muppet can absolutely be assaulted, or does the performer lose all their human rights while at work in your world?

    • GamerGrrl says:

      He not only assaulted the puppeteer, he assaulted the kids watching who believe Elmo is real – and their friend. Being in the room can be just as traumatic as being the one physically assaulted. Trust me, I know.

    • AngryJayne says:

      @GMH

      Thank you! Oh my goodness – everyone has the right to feel however they feel – first and foremost. In turn I have the right to my opinion as well…and a LOT of this seems to be very highly reactive takes on something that I just can’t even.

  7. bisynaptic says:

    “The other day, Kaiser mentioned that Elmo is a learning and an educational tool. Well, now we know that Larry is just a straight up tool.”
    —Thank you, very much, for the quote! 😉☺️

    • Truthiness says:

      Maybe Elmo is an educational tool but in that case the whole entire craze of Tickle Me Elmos flying off store’s shelves was a really bad lesson. I’d never allow that thing in my house because it’s annoying but I’m also not allowing my child walk around repeating that behavior.

      Larry David IS a tool. The bit would have been better if he had been hauled off by security. He can handle being arrested, arrest him.

      My son pointed out to me that in the first episode of Curb (in the last 2 weeks) Larry’s character was arrested in Georgia for giving a water bottle to a woman who had been waiting in line 2 and a half hours in the hot sun waiting to vote. His mug shot was an imitation of Trump’s mug shot.

    • Rosie says:

      @bisynaptic <3 <3 <3

  8. kyliegirl says:

    I am fully in support of Will Wheaton. It was an assault on national television and the way it was handled by the today show was abominable. The fact that Elmo’s post resounded with so many people tells us so many people right now are hurting. I had to stop reading the post under Will Wheaton’s response to his “Elmo” post because it made my blood boil. Why have we become such a hateful society? I know social media is a cesspool, but there are real people behind these responses and it breaks my heart how horrible we can be to each other. The truth is we need more Elmo’s in this world and a lot less Larry David’s.

    • BQM says:

      I said something similar in the Tracy Chapman post. Discourse can sometimes be so coarse and nasty. Something I also blame trump for at least normalizing and exacerbating that. The story should’ve been how many people are obviously hurting. There’s a reason they were invited to the show. This should have been an uplifting story.

      • kyliegirl says:

        I am still so happy for Tracy Chapman, we also need more Tracy Chapman’s. I too blame Donald Trump and the media for giving him the platform. They allow DT to spread his hateful messages and explain them away as it’s just DT. No, it it not OK and people in “leadership” positions need to start being held accountable for their speech and actions. People are tired.

      • BQM says:

        We’re such a messed up country though. Biden is probably the most empathetic person in the office since Carter. Trust me, I’m from Delaware. I’ve seen it my whole life. And he just gets no credit for it. He can get grumpy (come on, man) but he’d never stoop to Trump’s level.

        And the bad part is they know it. Trump would love it if the stress pushed Hunter into a relapse. Biden could absolutely rip the trump kids apart. And they’re even fair game having worked in the administration or the campaign unlike Hunter. But he’d never go there.

        And then a certain segment then think he’s weak or doddering. He’s “not a fighter”. It’s like there’s no appreciation for manners or kindness or empathy. And we see it in their politics. Mean and small and cruel.

  9. ChrissyMS says:

    I honestly thought it was a planned bit. I’m kind of baffled that it wasn’t? Even the way that the anchors reacted, they seemed like they were in on it?

    • mblates says:

      just because it was planned doesn’t mean the criticisms against it aren’t valid. it might have been planned on david’s part, and the anchors did seem they knew what was going on. but the puppeteer didn’t. i think if the people behind elmo knew it was going to happen, some additional discourse would have come out it.

    • Sum says:

      I don’t know if it was planned
      All of those anchors are seasoned. They probably recognized where it was going as soon as he got up. Plus with them living in New York and working for NBC they have ran into Larry David multiple times.

  10. Slush says:

    I would also say, stepping back from any emotional portion of this discussion, he also got in the way of other professionals trying to work and do their job.

    And for what? A few seconds of camera time?

    It was extremely unprofessional and incredibly rude at a bare minimum.

  11. TIFFANY says:

    If that assault is part of Curb’s final season, imma be extremely upset.

    An unnecessary jump the shark moment that should have never happen.

    • Truthiness says:

      The first episode highlighted Georgia’s voter suppression laws at the end where Larry is arrested for giving a bottle of water to a woman who was really thirsty while waiting in line for hours to vote. (My son is the Larry David fan)

  12. NG_76 says:

    I absolutely love Wil Wheaton and have a soft spot for him. He’s 100% right.
    The whole thing was so odd, like I guess Larry is like his TV character. Seems to me like this would be a plotline from his show. So idiotic

  13. BeanieBean says:

    I very much appreciated Wil Wheaton’s FB posts & only glanced at the appalling negativity spewing beneath it.

  14. Chaine says:

    Seeing how appallingly this guy acted, you kind of understand better how his own child ended up in a relationship with Pete Davidson

    • Sum says:

      And she keeps harping on it! Once upon a time anytime a current girlfriend was mentioned her and her friends would jump in the comments. She even tried to use that connection to get her career going.

  15. Sum says:

    I watched the Larry David elmo attack. It really was an attack. The only reason I watched it was I wanted to tell everyone they are overreacting. No Larry David, in my opinion, went for the performer. Maybe he felt slighted that elmo was talking about “feelings” and “feelings” is his thing?

    All I saw was a very rich man attack someone who he thought was less than him. I wasn’t expecting that. I thought it was going to be some twirling or rough-housing. If that guy was a street performer he would’ve fought Larry for possibly damaging his puppet.

  16. paddingtonjr says:

    Hoda Kotb ran to People to say that her daughter asked why Travis Kelce pushed his coach during the Super Bowl. Apparently, her 6-year-old was disturbed by that. But let a grown man throttle a child puppet on national TV, inches away from her mother, and not a peep.

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