by Karen Topakian
It’s a news story with a titillating headline, “Minnie Mouse Groped by Grandpa.” Fifty-nine year-old John Moyer of Cressona, PA was found guilty of misdemeanor battery for groping Minnie’s breasts and rear end at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Brittney McGoldrick, who played the part of Minnie, testified in Orlando court that she couldn’t call out because “character employees are not allowed to speak while in costume.” She said she feared she could lose her job if she spoke out loud.
Interesting employment rule? Does it really say in the Disney Character Employee Handbook that you cannot speak under any circumstance? What if Mr. Moyer brandished a weapon? Was she supposed to fight him off with her three-fingered hand?
The closest I could get to an employee handbook was the Cast and Crew Member Safety portion of their “Corporate Responsibility Report” which states: “Our comprehensive workplace safety programs are designed to educate Cast Members on regulations, industry and consensus standards, as well as our own stringent (stringent equals silent) Disney guidelines. Integrating our safety policies across the organization is critical to sustaining a safe workplace. We accomplish this integration through documentation and training, recognition of safety excellence, internal (because you can’t speak out loud) communication and information sharing. We monitor workplace conditions, Cast concerns and industry best practices in order to respond to safety issues in a timely, effective manner. We conduct regular health and safety audits and inspections — including safety self-assessments — to maintain our safety standards…”
At the happiest place on earth, a molested but silent Minnie supersedes a safe but vocal one.
For more stories from a former member of the Disney Parades Department, go to http://writing.fsu.edu/~oloomis/lae5946/schwartz.htm.