Star Trek Actor Wil Wheaton Has Bizarre Meltdown Over Larry David’s ‘Attack’ On Elmo: “Appalling, Unforgivable, Despicable”
No, you read that headline right: Due to some very clearly unresolved personal issues, Larry David’s recent ‘attacking’ of Elmo on live-television has drawn an explosive and legitimately angry reaction from Star Trek actor Wil Wheaton.
The moment at the center of the Star Trek: The Next Generation actor’s vitriolic response took place during the February 1st episode of NBC’s Today.
Therein, during a discussion of mental health being hosted by the Seasame Street resident and his father, Louie, the puppet was surprise attacked by David, who was set to appear later on in the show to promote the upcoming last season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
“Mr. Larry, Elmo liked you before!” the puppet exclaimed in response to having his face ‘smooshed’ by the actor before inviting him to “come back and talk about how you feel!”
“They’re not going to cancel the show for one last season!” David playfully jabbed back.
Met by the assertion from Today hot Savannah Guthrie that he had “gone too far this time,” the Curb Your Enthusiasm creator shot back, “Somebody had to do it!”
Continuing the joke, Elmo’s father then declared, “I’m gonna sue him for assault!”
Later appearing on the show as planned, amidst his discussion of his HBO comedy’s upcoming finale, David was pressed by Guthrie, “David, do you have something you want to say to Elmo? And from your heart?”
First joking, “From where? What organ are you talking about?”, the actor ultimately looked over to his fuzzy red compatriot and – holding back laughter – told him, “Elmo, I just want to apologize.”
“That’s very big of you,” Elmo nodded in return. “Elmo accepts your apology!”
However, despite the obviously playful nature of the entire interaction, Wheaton’s own self-admitted personal trauma led him to take the entire event as a direct attack on everything from children’s innocence to mental health awareness efforts.
And then, in typical Wheaton fashion, he resolved to let the world know about it in the most unhinged way possible.
Taking to his personal Facebook on February 3rd, the Big Bang Theory actor ranted to his followers, “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.”
“Holy s–t it’s even worse than I thought What the fuck 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–king David … did … that? And thought it was going to be … funny? What? What an a–hole. What a stupid, self-centered, tone deaf a–hole.”
It was then that Wheaton revealed the reason behind his angry response.
“Full disclosure,” he detailed, “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. So this appalling, unforgivable, despicable act hits 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.”
Returning to the target of his ire, Wheaton chastised, “Larry David, this was not okay, and your obviously insincere ‘apology’ clearly communicates that you don’t get that.”
“First of all, you aren’t even in the segment, but you just decided to barge in and draw focus because … why?” questioned the actor. “You couldn’t stand that a puppet brought people together in a meaningful way that you can’t? 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? You wanted to manufacture a viral moment where everyone gets to see what an a–hole you are, so they’ll tune in and watch you portray an asshole in the last season of your show that celebrates how great it is to be an a–hole without ever experiencing the consequences of being an a–hole? 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.”
In a near textbook example of irony, the actor then bleated, “Like, read the room, d–khead. It isn’t always about you being the center of attention. And understand what’s happening in the moment, f–ko. Understand that there are larger things in the world than you and your garbage ego.”
His anger not yet fully vented, Wheaton next attempted to weaponize the segment’s child-aged viewers, asking David, “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 inspired a deeply meaningful and important moment of collective support among disparate people who have been struggling through the traumas of a pandemic, daily mass shootings, the rise of fascism and everything associated with Trump’s violence and cruelty,” he opined. “And sh–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?”
“Larry David strikes me as a person who mocks and belittles people who are vulnerable and sensitive, and enjoys being cruel, because he feels untouchable,” said Wheaton. “Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s who I see whenever I can’t find the remote and he’s on my television.
“By contrast,” he argued, “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. Elmo and the Muppets teach children to be gentle and kind, to celebrate our different cultures and to embrace all of our complicated feelings. Elmo and the Muppets offer comfort and friendship and support to a world that is starving for it.”
Drawing his long-winding rant to a close, Wheaton affirmed, “I hope that, when the dust settles, Larry David’s appalling behavior will be a footnote to a larger story about how, for just one day, a Muppet made a difference and helped millions of people who are struggling to feel a little less alone.”
“With one question, Elmo got lots and lots of people speaking openly and honestly about their mental health. 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,” he concluded. “Elmo probably saved lives and relationships by opening that conversation. A man who would belittle and mock that isn’t much of a man at all. Shame on you, Larry David.”
Unfortunately for Wheaton, rather than overwhelming agreement and support, his post drew its fair share of criticism, with many suggesting that due to his history, he was overreacting to what was very clearly a joke.
But rather than offer even a moment of self-reflection, the actor instead demanded, “Listen, if you’re here to dismissively blather on about how I can’t take a joke, or it was just a joke, or I’m too sensitive, or whatever else comes from your Bag of Invalidation, please just leave.”
“A lot of us who had the same visceral reaction to a grown man putting his hands on a child (Elmo is 4 years old) in anger, without consent, and then laughing about it all share an experience that you should be grateful you don’t share with us,” he told his critics. ” And when you say your s—ty little toxic and cruel thing, when you reduce the whole thing to a puppet and a joke, you’re doing to us what the adults around us did when we were kids. And it hurts all over again.”
“Are you really someone who wants to hurt another person simply because you can?” Wheaton ended his post-script. “Maybe take the impulse to be a jerk and redirect it into being grateful you have no idea why this is so upsetting to so many of us.”