Last Friday, a costumed actor performing Duffy the Disney Bear at Shanghai Disneyland was hit in the head by a visitor. A hashtag related to the incident quickly began trending on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, ratcheting up 160 million views at the time of writing.
Most netizens expressed compassion for the actor and criticized the misbehaved tourist on Chinese social media. Many noted that the interiors of mascot costumes are often made of hard materials, and an external impact can easily cause injuries to performers.
Weibo entertainment blogger @呱呱每日冲浪 posted a video of the Duffy character covering his face and reaching for other Disney staff for comfort following the attack.
“Why do things like this happen all the time? I am so mad. Patting on the character’s head could put the performer in serious danger,” the blogger wrote in their post.
Screengrab via Weibo
“Today was my saddest day, after seeing Duffy in the park. Please be kind to these gems who create fairy tales for us,” @我是小灰灰 posted on Chinese lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu. In her video, she said to the performer, “please take care of yourself; we were all very worried about you.” (As if, somehow, getting hit in the head resulted from the actor not taking care of themselves…)
Some netizens even called on the theme park to ban the attacker from entering.
“This kind of visitor should be put on a banned list,” reads one netizen comment that has received more than 4,000 likes.
This incident is not the first time that character performers at Shanghai Disneyland have been injured by tourists.
Following the recent assault of Duffy, another entertainment blogger pointed out that another actor at the amusement park was given a concussion after being hit in the head by a female visitor in 2017.
“There is a human being behind every character. They make our dreams from childhood come true, and we should protect their safety,” the blogger wrote on Weibo.
On a related note: The trash-talking Megatron at the newly opened Universal Studios in Beijing has (to the best of our knowledge) so far escaped physical abuse, probably because it is enormous and kinda terrifying (stuffed bears are obviously an easier target).
Cover image via Weibo
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