Thursday, August 12, 2010

Woman Sues Disney Because Donald Duck "Groped" Her

I was very hesitant to report and comment on this lawsuit. A Pennsylvania woman is suing Disney because she claimed that a Donald Duck character "groped" her during a meet-and-greet session.

Now, first of all, we don't have any details about the incident. All we have is what we read in the news. We all know that that may not be necessarily accurate, or even correct. So with that in mind, read what was written about this case:

April Magolon, 27, of Upper Darby said she was touched inappropriately by Donald Duck while visiting Epcot in May 2008. She said the costumed character grabbed her chest and made joking gestures while she was holding one of her kids, according to a 38-page civil lawsuit.In the suit, Magolon said that she is traumatized two years after the incident and suffers from anxiety, headaches, nausea, cold sweats, insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks and digestive problems.
In the suit, Magolon claims that Disney is guilty of putting profits over public safety in covering up the characters’ alleged actions. The suit said the incident ruined the family's vacation and terrorized her to the point that she still can't perform her daily duties.
Er... I'm sorry, but "terrorrized"? "Headaches"? "Nausea"? "Anxiety"?

I will limit that as my comment on this cause, but I can certainly make a general comment about these characters. As someone who has been to many of these character meet-and-greet, I find it extremely difficult to believe that these characters would even THINK of doing such a thing. First of all, many of these characters are done by FEMALE case members (yes folks, even Mickey!). This is because it typically requires someone with a smaller/slight body build to get into those costumes. I've definitely seen a few Donald Ducks in which the gestures were more "feminine" than in others. Secondly, these characters are in front of dozens of people ready to snap a picture. You are center stage, with hordes of people taking pictures of you. Who in their right mind would even think of trying anything silly?

These characters, depending on what characters are being portrayed, can be very playful. Stitch can get downright naughty. But that's what we want because that is who they are! Could this woman simply not know about Disney characters, or simply misinterpret what the character was doing?

The downside of this is that, if Disney gets more of these "lawsuits", whether they are justified or not, I'm just afraid that they will severely limit these characters meet-and-greet sessions, and that will effect the enjoyment of many of us who look forward to such experience. Previous lawsuits similar to this has been dismissed or found in favor of Disney/defendant. I don't see this as being any different, unless I see a clear video evidence of what happened.


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