Trigger warning: explicit description of child abuse
Amidst the chaos of morning television, Larry David’s unexpected tussle with Elmo on the Today show left viewers both amused and puzzled. But Wil Wheaton had a decidedly less jovial take, likening Larry’s antics to a traumatic blast from his childhood past.
The former Star Trek star took to his Facebook page on Thursday (February 8) to post an explosive online rant about Larry attacking Elmo, which had brought up scarring memories of his abusive childhood.
The 51-year-old actor wrote: “So I heard about Larry David assaulting Elmo on life [sic] television, but didn’t watch it until now because I knew it would upset me. Holy s–t, it’s even worse than I thought.
“What the f–k is wrong with that guy? Elmo is, like, the best friend to multiple generations of children.”
He continued: “What a stupid, self-centered, tone-deaf a–hole.”
Larry David’s attack on Elmo prompted Wil Wheaton to write an explosive post likening Larry’s antics to a traumatic blast from his childhood past
Image credits: TODAY
“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. He choked me more than once.
“He was always out of control, always in a furious rage, and always terrifying. 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.”
Elmo is a red Muppet character on the children’s television show Sesame Street. The furry monster speaks in a high-pitched falsetto voice and frequently refers to himself in the third person.
The incident occurred on February 1, when Larry stopped by the Today show
Image credits: TODAY
The character hosts the last full five-minute segment on Sesame Street, Elmo’s World, which is aimed at toddlers.
Wil went on to call Larry’s behavior “appalling,” “unforgivable,” and “despicable,” and he said it hit “more than one raw nerve for me, and I’m going to say what I wish I’d been able to say when this sort of thing happened to me.”
The Flubber actor was referring to an incident on February 1 when the 76-year-old stopped by the Today show.
A clip of the segment, which has since gone viral, showed Elmo and his father, Louie, chatting with the show’s hosts, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Craig Melvin.
The segment showed Elmo and his father, Louie, chatting with the show’s hosts, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Craig Melvin, about mental health
Image credits: TODAY
52-year-old Savannah was seen tossing the program over to Al Roker for his weather segment but was interrupted. “Wait, wait, wait, wait,” 59-year-old Hoda could be heard saying as a dismayed 69-year-old Roker looked off-screen.
The camera then cut back to the anchors, who were shocked to see Larry attacking the red furry puppet.
“Oh my gosh,” Savannah exclaimed as Larry took a swing at the joyful monster. “You love Elmo, don’t you.” Following the brawl, Larry was seen walking off the set while grinning.
“Mr. Larry, Elmo liked you before,” the shaken puppet called after the Seinfeld star. Savannah went on to tell him: “Larry, you’ve gone too far this time,” to which he replied, “Somebody had to do it.”
Larry later explained that he had been waiting to be interviewed, and Elmo was “going on about mental health”
Image credits: TODAY
Larry later apologized during his own “Today” segment, Entertainment Weekly (EW) reported. “Elmo, I just want to apologize,” he said, holding back laughter. “I’m really sorry.”
The quarrel left many people in shock, with social media users grouping to express their anger, as one person wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter): “Larry David beat the s–t out of Elmo this morning.”
Another X user commented: “This is child abuse.”
In his heated Facebook post, Wil went on to rip apart Larry’s on-air apology as “obviously insincere” and to ask what he was thinking: “You couldn’t stand that a puppet brought people together in a meaningful way that you can’t?
Wil went on to call Larry’s behavior “appalling,” “unforgivable,” and “despicable,” shedding light on his abusive childhood
Image credits: itswilwheaton
“You couldn’t stand that your appearance on national television to promote your wildly successful series was delayed for a few seconds while the adults talked about mental health?”
The angered actor was referring to Elmo’s other recent viral moment, in which the adorable red monster asked his social media followers how they were doing, and the post unexpectedly blew up, inspiring a conversation about mental health, as per EW.
Wil wrote: “And s—ty idiot Larry David couldn’t leave it alone, for some reason. He had to indirectly tell everyone who opened their hearts to a Muppet that they were stupid, and he thought it was a good joke to physically attack and choke this character, who is beloved by children and adults alike.
“You know what that tells impressionable young people about sharing their feelings?”
Wil said it hit “more than one raw nerve for me”
Image credits: Wil Wheaton
The Stand By Me actor added that the stunt could have scarred young viewers. He wrote: “You know who is watching the Today show with their parents? Kids who also watch Sesame Street.
“Elmo is an avatar for children all over the world. Children who are too small to understand Elmo is a puppet will know that a man attacked someone they love for no reason, and that will frighten and confuse them.”
“Elmo and the Muppets teach and model to children all over the world that kindness and empathy aren’t weak or stupid or any of the things people like Larry David and my dad think they are,” Wil explained, and continued: “[Larry] strikes me as a person who mocks and belittles people who are vulnerable and sensitive, and enjoys being cruel because he feels untouchable.”
Despite the backlash that ensued from the controversial moment, the Curb Your Enthusiasm star went on to justify his beat down of Elmo, telling Late Night host Seth Meyers that he had assaulted the puppet because he couldn’t take another second of his message about mental health and declared that he would try to hurt the puppet again if he could, Fox News reported.
You can watch a clip of the segment below:
Seth brought up the scuffle, saying: “You were on the ‘Today’ show this morning. And so was Elmo.
“Elmo, one might say, loved by all. You wanna tell us what happened with Elmo, Larry?”
Larry doubled down on his questionable gesture when Seth mentioned how he went to “throttle” Elmo.
The comedian said: “Yeah, yeah. I did it. Elmo was talking, okay? I was waiting to be interviewed, and Elmo – he was going on about mental health, and I had to listen to every word.”
Using a high-pitched voice to mock the puppet, he continued: “And I was going, ‘Oh my God, oh my God. I don’t think I can take another second of this!’” Returning to his normal voice, he yelled, “And so I got off my chair, and I approached him, and I throttled him!,” as per Fox News.
Wil’s post sparked more divided opinions