The happiest place on earth isn’t having such a good week. A family from San Diego, Cal. has filed a lawsuit against Disneyland, claiming they were greeted by a cast member, who refused to hug their children because they were black, upon entering the park last August.
Annella Black and her family visited the theme park to celebrate her nephew’s birthday, according to a local ABC affiliate, when the first character they encountered was the White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland.” While the kids eventually got pictures with the character, it was anything but smooth sailing. The birthday boy held out his hand to the rabbit, but the character was having none of it.
Black’s 5-year-old son got a similar reception from the character, when he tried to hug the rabbit, who pulled his hands away. When Annella mentioned to the character that her son just wanted to sit on his lap, he gestured for her to hurry up and take a photo.
After their photos were taken, Black says her family watched as the character showered the next two kids, an Asian girl and Caucasian boy, with hugs and kisses, which caused her children to cry. She says, “It hurts for someone to treat someone like that, especially at Disneyland. What hurts the most is seeing my children in pain.”
Before leaving the park for the day, the family filed a complaint. They later received a letter from Disneyland, apologizing that the cast member “did not meet their expectations.” That letter was followed by another, offering $500 dollars in passes to the park, in exchange for them signing a confidential settlement.
Black refused to sign the settlement when the company wouldn’t say whether the offending cast member was fired. That’s when the family hired an attorney, who sent a letter to the park demanding confirmation the employee had been terminated, and for policies to be altered so a similar incident would never happen to anyone else.
Annella and her husband, Jason Black Sr., say the suit isn’t about money. “This is Disneyland,” Jason says, “This shouldn’t be happening at Disneyland.”
Disney claims they’ve yet to see the lawsuit, and thus cannot comment on it.