The Walt Disney Company is being sued by a family claiming one of their employees at the Ananheim Disneyland amusement park has displayed racist behavior.
The Black family from San Diego is claiming that the person embodying the White Rabbit character has refused to interact with their children due to their race.
According to Fox5 San Diego, they took a trip to the California location last August. 6-year-old Jason Black Jr. approached the Rabbit, his favorite Alice in Wonderland character, and tried to hug him. The employee allegedly turned his back to the little boy, who was left disappointed.
“I went to hug him but he turned his back. [...] It’s made me feel sad because I wanted to really hug him,” Jason describes.
His older brother Elijah Black confirms the account, adding that he has been refused when asking to hold the Rabbit's hand.
“The Rabbit was turning his back on him like he didn’t want to touch him. [...] Then I went up and tried to hold his hand but he kept flicking my hand off,” Elijah says.
Mother Annelia confronted the employee, who acted as if he wanted to interact with her family as little as possible.
“I asked the rabbit, I said ‘he wants to hug you.’ [...] He’s like twirling his fingers, like hurry up take the picture,” she notes.
The Blacks initially thought that company policy prevented staff from having physical contact with the children in the park.
As they waited to compare how the Rabbit treated white children, they observed that he “showered, hugged, kissed and posed with them and took pictures.”
A complaint to a manager at the park, accompanied by photo evidence, got them VIP passes, which they turned down.
With the help of attorney Dan Gilleon, they are demanding Disney issue an apology, terminate the employee and release CCTV footage from the premises.
“They’re not trying to get something they don’t deserve. In fact, all they’ve asked for is a little bit of recognition that this should not have happened,” Gilleon argues.