According to a report on Tuesday from San Diego's KGTV Channel 10, an ABC affiliate, Annelia Black brought her family to the Anaheim, California park to celebrate her nephew's birthday. Traditionally, in the morning, guests find characters waiting on the other side of the main gates to Disneyland Park, and this August 2012 morning was no exception, as the White Rabbit waited to greet guests.
But the reception waiting for the Blacks from the White Rabbit was less than magical.
“I was trying to pull his hand, but he kept trying to pull his hand out of my hand,” claimed Black's nine-year-old son, Elijah. “I felt angry and sort of sad.”
Black's five-year-old son, Jason, got a cool reception as well. “I felt sad,” he said to the news station. “I went to hug him, but he just turned his back.”
The White Rabbit did take photos with the African-American children, but according to the family, then proceeded to shower the next two children – an Asian girl and a white boy – with various affections not shown to their family.
“It hurts for someone to treat someone like that, especially at Disneyland,” said Black, who insists that money is not at the heart of this matter. “What hurts the most is seeing my children in pain.”
Black and her family filed a complaint of racism and mistreatment with Guest Relations before exiting the park, and received a letter apologizing for the Cast Member's performance. Weeks later, Black received a letter from Disney for $500 in Disneyland passes, provided they signed a confidentiality statement of settlement.
Black refused, and returned fire via her attorney, who sent Disney a letter demanding confirmation that the Cast Member in question had been nothing short of terminated, along with a list of policy changes ensuring that it would not happen again.
[Writer's Note: As a former Cast Member in another department, I can attest that Disneyland Resort policy specifically prohibits any form of discrimination on several bases, race being one of them.]
The family's lawyer also intends to subpoena surveillance video from the Main Gate. Disney has refused to comment at this point.
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DISCLAIMER: KGTV Channel 10 San Diego is an ABC affiliate; the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is own by The Walt Disney Company.