Times Square “Kiss Cam” Back On Despite Groping Incidents

Open Jaw

Over police objections, cosmetics giant Revlon has turned its Times Square “Kiss Cam” back on, despite its status as what one publication called “a perv magnet.”

Police have arrested 4 people in the past month for grabbing and rubbing up against women who stop to pose for the camera.

The interactive billboard is connected to a camera that snaps photos of people in a pedestrian walkway and displays them at 43rd Street and Broadway. But after the incidents police asked Revlon to shut it down, which it did, but restarted after 4 days.

"People who [are] so intent on taking selfies of themselves they don’t realize someone’s grabbing their butt while they’re taking their photo," said New York police commissioner Bill Bratton. He added that the gropers are so unafraid that they don't even mind being caught on camera. "You’d think something that’s being photographed would deter them, but just the opposite.”

City and law enforcement officials have been increasingly concerned with the state of Times Square, once known as New York's hub for peep shows and other X-rated attractions but cleaned up in the 1990s and transformed into a family-friendly destination.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio this year remarked on the proliferation of topless women and aggressive costumed characters who pose with tourists for tips, saying it threatened to drag the area back to "the bad old days."

Revlon spokesman Mario Ruiz said the Kiss Cam was shut down temporarily while the situation was evaluated. He did not elaborate on why the company decided to reactivate the screen on Tuesday but said it took police recommendations into account. "We are taking the lead of the NYPD and will continue to do so," he said.

The billboard, which was previously active 24 hr. a day, will now click off at night, when police say most of the groping incidents happened.

Police said the department had urged Revlon to turn off the sign indefinitely.

(will not be published)