Disney World, Fla. Jan 7, 2007 (AP) - Tigger was accused of hitting a child while posing for a photo, a spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez said Saturday.
"Naturally, physical altercations between cast members and guests are not tolerated.”
The boy’s father, Jerry Monaco told The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm, "At that point he started bumping into me and I apologized and I figured it was hot out and give him some space. At that point I backed off and went to take some home video of the rest of the family and, out of nowhere, he sucker-punched my son."
This couldn’t be any more different than the relationship I had with my father. Whereas here you have Jerry Monaco content with going on “The Early Show” to tell the world that his son was beat down by the palm of a soft, furry paw at The Happiest Place on Earth, my father would have pulled us apart, taken me to the side and had a talk with me. He would have said, “I don’t know what just happened there, but this sort of thing is unacceptable.” Then he would have handed me a small box cutter, saying, “Now go back in there and finish what he started.” Then he would take bets from the crowd, likely against me, because it’s like he always said: “I love you but you’re small for your age.”
But you know the weirdest part about this whole thing? I’m not surprised at all. I always pictured Tigger as a loose cannon. He’s increasingly hyper and strung out, seemingly always on the verge of snapping. Even Goofy, whose demeanor is defined by crazy, unpredictable behavior, never came off as out-of-control as Tigger did, with his small, unblinking eyes. If Mickey ran his family with a firmer hand, you imagine Tigger would have been handled like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.
Still, if I were Disney PR, I’d view this as an opportunity. Here’s how I would spin it:
Tigger is on drugs. Tigger uses crack and meth. He is a troubled tiger who made some mistakes and is in need of help. They could even say he was molested as a cub to drum up sympathy. Then take him out of circulation at The Magic Kingdom for a few months. Send him to rehab. Put him, Christopher Robin, Pooh, Roo and Eeyore on an episode of A&E’s “Intervention.” Piglet can break down in tears saying, “You hit a kid, Tigger! You’re out of control!” Cross-promote it, make a big deal out of it – peel back the façade of perfection that Disney World has portrayed for too long now. In July, at the height of tourist season, reintroduce the clean, newly rehabilitated Tigger. He can go around the park carrying a Poland Spring bottle, posing for pictures while fake-punching kids and telling them to stay off drugs. He’s Disney’s real-life comeback story, a walking, talking embodiment of the idea that even though the world can be a hard, cruel place, in the end friendship and cheerfulness will triumph. Send him on Larry King, Jon Stewart and Oprah, where she can show flashbacks to his lowest points and he can choke up while saying, “I was a different tiger then.” It would be the best thing Disney has ever done with itself.
Then, some years down the line, after an obscene amount of taunting has turned Jerry Monaco Jr. into a crazed recluse, Monaco can take out Tigger with a sniper’s rifle while positioned atop Cinderella’s Castle in the middle of Magic Kingdom, assuring that for at least one more day I have something to blog about.