Disney character performers in Florida object to media restrictions
By Letitia Stein
TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - A union for Walt Disney World Resort character performers said it filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday objecting to a push requiring them not to divulge which characters they portray in any media, including social media.
In recent weeks, performers have been asked to agree, via an electronic document, not to disclose their roles in television, radio, print and social media outlets, according Donna-Lynne Dalton, recording secretary and business agent for Teamsters Local 385 in Orlando, Florida.
She said the push goes beyond longstanding practice at the theme park and resort, where character performers are trained not to identify themselves in a way that spoils the illusion.
"I support the company's position on maintaining the magic," said Dalton, herself a former Disney character performer. "But having them sign off on confidentially is unacceptable."
For example, she said performers could be prevented from detailing their work experience in a resume posted online.
Disney officials said the performers have always been expected to maintain the integrity of the characters they portray, and nothing had changed.
"We are proud of the important role our characters play in the guest experience," said spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler in a statement. "This guideline is consistent with our longstanding expectation that Cast Members protect the magic for our guests."
The union said it had filed a grievance with Disney's labor relations department, as well as with the NLRB office in Tampa, Florida.
(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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