(Anaheim-CA) Disneyland continues having a difficult time living up to its "Happiest Place on Earth" promise. Only two weeks after employees took over the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride, the character of Piglet has officially been banned due to swine flu concerns.
David Lemster, who has played the part of Piglet for five years, took his case to local news on KCAL, gaining media attention by chaining himself to the "Swiss Family Treehouse".
"To ban Piglet because of this swine flu outbreak is ridiculous. It sends the wrong message to kids. I'm not saying that Piglet can't be fearful of the swine flu. As a method actor, I understand that. Why do you think I suggested that Piglet should wear a surgical mask? I even mentioned a possible merchandising opportunity, putting other "Winnie the Pooh" characters on the mask. They would hear none of it, Small World Fascists!"
The controversy has even reached outside of Disneyland. George Mazoni is an actor who regularly plays Miss Piggy for licensed Muppet events.
"After you play a character for a while, you develop an affection for that character," said Mazoni. "I'm that way with Miss Piggy, and people know that. So when it's time to open a Porsche dealership in Brentwood or a reformed Bat Mitzvah in Sherman Oaks, my agent gets the call. With this prejudice against pig characters, I don't know what will happen."
Mazoni fears the worst for art as a whole. "I had planned to do Beckett's "Krapp's Last Tape" as interpreted by Miss Piggy. Admittedly, a niche audience piece. But with this scare, who will show up? And now more than ever we need to see things like this. People need to know that Miss Piggy has deeper feelings than being in a sadomasochistic relationships with Kermit."