A TikTok user has urged Disney fans not to harass Disney employees after sharing a video of Gaston breaking character in response to a woman touching his chest.
This week, Evan Snead, who goes by the username @evansnead on TikTok, where he frequently shares behind-the-scenes facts and videos about Disney theme parks, uploaded the TikTok as a reminder to guests of the importance of treating Disney cast members with respect.
In the clip, which is captioned: “Girl harasses Gaston and he (rightfully) forces her to LEAVE,” a woman can be seen standing next to the Disney employee dressed as the Beauty and the Beast character, presumably for a photo, before placing both her hands on his chest.
The encounter prompted an instant response from the Disney cast member, who stepped away before gesturing for the woman to leave, telling her: “You’re out. NOW.”
At first, the woman didn’t appear to understand the character’s reaction, as she continued to stand next to the employee and laugh. However, he could then be heard raising his voice and telling her: “Leave.”
In the TikTok, the woman could be seen attempting to again place her hands on the Disney employee, at which point he directed her again to leave.
“Leave. Leave. You’re done,” he is heard telling the guest as he guided her away. “There’s children!”
After playing the clip in the TikTok, Snead appeared on the screen to urge viewers not to harass Disney employees.
“Please do not be that person,” he said. Snead then acknowledged that the video in question, which is from 2015, is not new, as Gaston is not meeting guests right now, before continuing: “But also, he was every bit in the right to do that.
“And, just so you know, if you do harass the characters like that, more often than not, they are not going to play into it. They are not going to think it’s cute.”
Snead then explained why the scenario is not appropriate, no matter the setting, continuing: “If you do not want a stranger going up to you, in public, at your place of work, and putting their hands all over you, then don’t do it to the characters.”
“The characters want you to have a great time, and enjoy meeting them, but it is their place of work. It is a family place of business,” Snead said, before reminding viewers that the characters are “also people” and should not be subjected to “uncomfortable touching” or language.
The video, which has since been viewed more than 11.8m times, has prompted hundreds of comments from viewers agreeing with Snead.
“The fact that she didn’t seem to understand why he was making her leave infuriates me! Why would you think it’s ok to touch somebody you don’t know?” one person commented.
Another said: “Nobody should be touched without permission. That Gaston is an absolute king for how he handled that situation.”
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The video also prompted viewers who work as character performers to agree, with one viewer writing: “As a character performer, please don’t do things like this! And another big thing is please don’t let your children run up hitting us and stuff!”
However, there were also those who attempted to defend the woman, with someone else commenting: “He just had to ruin her fun,” while another said: “He completely over-reacted.”
Speaking to The Independent about the video going viral, Snead said he was “VERY shocked” by the reaction to the TikTok, explaining: “A lot of people came in defending the [woman], a lot of people can in defending Gaston.”
He then said that he likes to take the opportunity to remind people to treat Disney cast members with respect. “I always like to put out small PSAs to people to simply treat Disney cast members with respect and to treat them the way they would like to be treated,” he continued.
And while he said that it was “truly astounding” that more than 10m people saw the video, as he “figured the video would just stay in my little bubble of Disney fans and friends,” he hopes that it will educate others.
“I hope it sheds some light on treating others with respect, and reaches people who otherwise wouldn’t have known proper etiquette when it comes to meeting Disney characters,” he said.
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