Disney characters inappropriately touched at theme parks

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Mickey and Minnie MouseImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Tourists often pose for pictures with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, pictured here, at Walt Disney World theme parks

Walt Disney World employees who work as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck have filed police complaints accusing tourists of inappropriately touching them.

Three female cast members complained to police about incidents at theme parks near Orlando, Florida, this month.

The woman wearing the Mickey Mouse costume said she was injured by a grandmother who patted her on the head.

The women who play Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck allege they were groped.

Orange County Sheriff's Office, which investigated all three incidents, said the women wearing the Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck suits decided not to press charges.

Police told the woman who plays Mickey Mouse the incident was a civil, not a criminal matter.

The incidents come after a 51-year-old man was arrested in November after an employee portraying a Disney Princess told investigators he groped her breast while having a photo taken.

"Everyone should feel safe at work, and we encourage cast members to come forward in any uncomfortable situation," a Disney spokesperson told the BBC.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Magic Kingdom was the first theme park to open at the Walt Disney World resort in Florida

"We provide multiple resources to protect our cast members' well-being, including on-site law enforcement officers who respond, and are available to them, if needed."

The three most recent incidents, first reported by Orlando Sentinel, happened over two days on 3 and 4 December.

The first incident took place on 3 December, when police were called to a restaurant at the Animal Kingdom theme park.

A woman in her 60s asked if she could kiss Donald Duck at a meet-and-greet, the police report said.

Donald Duck consented to the kiss, but then the woman "proceeded to touch her all over her chest" without permission to do so.

When the employee attempted to move away, the woman grabbed hold of her, placed her hands inside the costume and "frantically touched her chest over her bra".

The crew member did not press charges, telling police the woman "appeared to be possibly suffering from dementia".

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The employee who plays Donald Duck alleges she was groped at the Animal Kingdom theme park

On 4 December the employee who portrays Mickey Mouse was approached by a family-of-three - a grandmother, her adult daughter, and her grandson - at the Magic Kingdom theme park.

The grandmother patted Mickey Mouse on the head five times in an attempt to "show her grandson that Mickey wouldn't hurt him", the police report said.

The woman playing Mickey House told investigators this caused her to suffer neck strain, for which she sought treatment at hospital.

The employee, who did not believe the grandmother intended to hurt her, reported the incident, but was told it was civil, not criminal.

Media caption,

Employment lawyer Ruby Dinsmore explains how companies are increasingly concerned about litigation risks at work in the #MeToo era

A second incident on the same day, also at the Magic Kingdom, involved the employee who plays Minnie Mouse.

The employee told police a male guest groped her three times on the chest after posing for photos alongside his wife in a meet-and-greet area.

The man, a 61-year-old from Minnesota, was identified from pictures taken at the theme park on the day of the incident.

Police said the employee did not press charges against the man, a Disney Vacation Club member.

Disney, however, took action to ban the man, who had another "inappropriate interaction with another cast member" on 5 December.