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Tigger Character Suspended By Disney Again, This T


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Tigger Character Suspended By Disney Again, This Time As Goofy

POSTED: 6:25 AM EDT September 16, 2004

UPDATED: 2:54 PM EDT September 16, 2004

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The man cleared last month on claims he molested a teenager while playing Tigger at the Magic Kingdom has been suspended again. This time he was playing Goofy and is accused of shoving two other workers at Walt Disney World.

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His lawyer said the man was just "goofing around because he was Goofy."

Two photographers at Disney's Animal Kingdom say Michael Chartrand came up to them in his Goofy costume and shoved each in the chest, Orange County Sheriff's Capt. Bernie Presha said Wednesday.


See Images Presented During Trial -- Attorney Trying On Tigger Costume

The photographers, a male and female whose names were not released, told officers that they at first thought the Goofy character was a friend who was joking around, but said they thought it unlike their friend to have shoved them.

Later, when the character took off his costume head backstage, they saw that it was not their friend, Presha said. The photographers, who work for Kodak, told their bosses, who contacted Disney who called the sheriff's office.

Jeffrey Kaufman, Chartrand's attorney in the Tigger case, said the new claims were bogus.

"Goofy is clways playful," said Kaufman, who himself portrays characters at Disney part time and said he has played Goofy "hundreds of times."

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"Of course he was goofing around because he was Goofy!" Kaufman said.

Earlier this year, Disney suspended Chartrand after a 13-year-old accused him of fondling her while he was dressed as Tigger. A jury acquitted Chartrand of those charges, and Disney let him return to work Aug. 6.

Kaufman said Disney sees Chartrand as a liability and is using this false claim against him.

He also said the two Kodak employees shoved Chartrand back, as part of routine horseplay among cast members and greeters meant to entertain patrons.

"That's the joke about this," Kaufman said. "You're supposed to fool around, be animated. I knew for Michael it would be tough for him to go back. I told him he would be a walking bull's-eye."

Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Polak said Chartrand was suspended Aug. 30 and would remain so indefinitely. Kaufman said the suspension was unpaid.

"It is our policy to place any employee accused of misconduct on suspension until all the facts are known," Disney said in a statement.

Presha said that the State Attorney's Office would decide whether to file misdemeanor charges. He said a sheriff's report was not yet available because detectives were backlogged as a result of recent hurricanes.

Chartrand, 36, a native of England, had been living at his sister's home in nearby Kissimmee but was not there Wednesday. Fran Chartrand referred all inquiries to Kaufman.


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