Paris Suicides Expose Disney's Dark Side

Uncaring management blamed for worker deaths
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2010 2:07 AM CDT
A firework display lights up the castle of Sleeping Beauty in Disneyland Paris.   (AP Photo/Michael Sawyer)
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(Newser) – Heartless managers are turning the Magic Kingdom into a hellish place to work, say labor leaders at Disneyland Paris. Cost-cutting at the theme park means that worker numbers have been slashed despite more visitors, leaving staff overworked and undervalued. Two Disney workers have killed themselves since the beginning of the year, and others say they are demoralized by the lack of prospects for advancement and the park's increasingly dilapidated state.

"What we sell is something wonderful. We sell smiles. We sell the happiness of children. All of us love our jobs, or what our jobs represent," one union activist tells the Independent. "But in the last few years, there has been a new management approach, which has made our working lives intolerable." One of the suicides, a cook, was found dead the day before he was due to return to work after a long illness. He had scratched "Je ne veux pas retourner chez Mickey"—"I don't wan't to work for Mickey any more"—into the wall.

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