Walt Disney sued after Donald Duck gropes tourist


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – When April Magolon, 27, visited Epcot in May 2008, she said wanted to get Donald Duck’s autograph. Instead, the Pennsylvania woman claims the costumed character battered her.

According to Magolon’s lawsuit against Walt Disney World, as she carried one of her children in her arm, “The (employee) dressed as Donald Duck proceeded to grab the Plaintiff’s breast and molest her and then made gestures making a joke, indicating he had done something wrong.”

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Magolon claimed the incident has caused her “anxiety, headaches, nausea, cold sweats, insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, and digestive problems,” according to the lawsuit filed last month. She is seeking more than $200,000 in damages.

In court papers, Magolon makes reference to Michael Chartrand, a former Walt Disney World employee who was arrested in 2004 for allegedly groping a 13-year-old girl while he was dressed as Tigger.

But Magolon fails to mention in her lawsuit that a jury acquitted Chartrand of all charges, thanks in part to his lawyer.

Attorney Jeffery Kaufman also worked part-time at Walt Disney World portraying Tigger.

During closing arguments at Chartrand’s trial, the lawyer dressed up in his orange and white Tigger costume to demonstrate to jurors how difficult it is for Disney employees to see and maneuver in those bulky suits.

“I think it’s unfair in that it could happen to any character in costume. Anyone,” Kaufman told Local 6 after his client’s acquittal. “That’s the reason I first represented (Chartrand). Because I realized it could happen to me.”

Throughout her lawsuit, Magalon repeatedly refers to the employee playing Donald Duck as a “man.” However, the role of Donald Duck is typically portrayed by petite women, according to former employees.

“We have seen the plaintiff’s complaint, and we will respond appropriately in court,” a Walt Disney World spokesman said.

Magalon has never filed a criminal complaint with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, according to an agency spokesman.