(Anaheim-CA) Disneyland continues having a difficult time living up to its “Happiest Place on Earth” promise. Only two weeks after Disney employees took over the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride, the character of Piglet has officially been banned due to swine flu concerns. And once again a Disney employee is protesting.
David Lemster, who has played the part of Piglet for five years, took his case to local news on KCAL, gaining media attention by chaining himself to the “Swiss Family Treehouse”. “To ban Piglet because of this swine flu outbreak is ridiculous. It sends the wrong message to kids.” Lemster believes Disney missed an important teaching opportunity. “I’m not saying that Piglet can’t be fearful of the swine flu. As a method actor, I understand that. Why do you think I suggested that Piglet should wear a surgical mask? I even mentioned a possible merchandising opportunity, putting other “Winnie the Pooh” characters on the mask. They would hear none of it, Small World Fascists!”
Disney spokesperson, Joan Smith, maintains Lemster is being fair from truthful. “This has nothing to do with Disney missing a teaching opportunity. We are always fielding teaching opportunities using our beloved characters to explain adult issues to children. As an example, we had been speaking with Barr Pharmaceuticals, the makers of the “Morning After Pill”, about using Kanga. She is wrestling with the question: Should she use the contraceptive after an ill thought out tryst with Roo’s father?” Smith went on to say that “while this project has stalled due to Barr’s reluctance over confusing their product for veterinary use, it shows Disney is open to this platform.”
The controversy has even reached outside of Disney. George Mazoni is an actor who regularly plays Miss Piggy for licensed Muppet events. “After you play a character for a while, you develop an affection for that character,” said Mazoni. “I’m that way with Miss Piggy, and people know that. So when it’s time to open a Porsche dealership in Brentwood or a reformed Bat Mitzvah in Sherman Oaks, my agent gets the call. With this Disney prejudice against pig characters, I don’t know what will happen.”
Mazoni fears the worst for art as a whole. “I had planned to do Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape” as interpreted by Miss Piggy. Admittedly, a niche audience piece. But with this scare, who will show up? And now more than ever we need to see things like this. People need to know that Miss Piggy has deeper feelings than being in a sadomasochistic relationships with Kermit.”