A former Disney World actress has revealed how she was sexually harassed by married men while in character as Disney princesses such as Tinker Bell.
Sarah Daniels, an actress and Twitch streamer who began working as a “cast member” at Walt Disney World in Florida when she was 16, said in a viral TikTok video last week that propositions from male guests were a common occurrence.
Cast members don costumes to play the role of well-known Disney characters at the company’s resorts, greeting and entertaining guests, especially children, while keeping up the masquerade.
A commenter asked Ms Daniels: “How many dads end up hitting you BECAUSE you’re the character? As opposed to because you’re an attractive woman?”
Ms Daniels answered: “This is a unique question, because I feel like if dudes are going to be creeps and hit on you, they’re going to hit on you whether you’re a character or not.
“But there were many moments, especially as Tinker Bell, where I had men – married men – hand me keys to their hotel room and tell me where they were staying.”
In a follow-up video explaining how she dealt with them, she said: “Let me be honest, I was always caught really off guard when people would do this. So usually, if I was having an issue, I would divert them to my character attendant, because you’re not supposed to say no.
“Like, as a ‘face’ character, ‘no’ is not in your vocabulary. You have to find ways around ‘no’... so usually, divert the attention to the character attendant and they will take care of the creepy dads for you.”
The videos apparently provoked hostility from some, because on Wednesday she complained of being “inundated with men on every platform telling me it’s my fault that I sexualised Tinker Bell, so I deserved it.”
Even so, she previously said that she had never broken character, whatever the circumstances. “If we break, we get fired, so we will not break,” she said. “You can try and try and try as you might, but we have answers to everything.”
Sexual harassment is not unknown at Disney’s resorts. Earlier this week, another viral video on TikTok showed a woman being asked to leave by a man dressed as Gaston from Beauty and the Beast after inappropriately touching his chest.
In 2019, three Disney World cast members said they had been groped by guests while portraying Minnie Mouse, a Disney princess and Donald Duck, while another who played Mickey Mouse said she had been injured by someone patting her fake head too vigorously.
Disney said that it provided “multiple resources to protect cast members’ wellbeing”, including on-site law police, and encouraged them to report problems. Repeat offenders can be banned permanently from all Disney parks.
Ms Daniels, 32, has previously described how she developed an eating disorder after Disney World employees told her she needed to change her figure in order to play the Little Mermaid in a theatre show.
Disney World did not respond to a request for comment from the Indianopolis Star.