Free Hugs Guy punches tourist who refused to pay him
Jermaine Himmelstein, the 24-year-old known as the “Free Hugs Guy,” was arrested on Thursday when he allegedly hit a Canadian tourist who refused to leave him a tip.
Sophie Violene Dauvois claims she was walking through Times Square when a man approached with a sign that read, “Free Hugs.” It’s alleged that Himmelstein jumped into a photo that Dauvois was taking, and when Himmelstein asked for a tip, Dauvois refused. Himmelstein then allegedly threw a punch, and Dauvois suffered bloodied and swollen black eye.
Following his arrest, Himmelstein was also charged with hitting a woman two weeks before the incident with Dauvois after the woman did not want to hug him.
“You will respect me when I knock you out,” Himmelstein allegedly screamed in the earlier incident, before following her to the 49th St. station at Seventh Ave. He then allegedly struck her in the face.
“I offered a hug to the girl … she said no and walked away,” Himmelstein is quoted as admitting to police in the complaint. “I observed (her) going down into the subway system and I hid my cardboard sign behind a pole.”
“I sucker punched her and then I jumped over the turnstile and ran away,” he allegedly admitted following the incident. Himmelstein was not arrested for the earlier incident until he allegedly attacked Dauvois.