Here's the deal: Disney's character actors do wonderful work, and are justifiably proud of the work they do. Over the years, they've developed the convention of telling people that they are a "good friend of" whatever character they play, which effectively communicates to people in the know what they do, while preserving the magic for everyone else.
Everyone who cares about their jobs at Disney understands the importance of preserving that magic — the character actors especially so. No cast members I've spoken with have an issue with this.
So what's the problem? If Disney management wants its cast members to abide by a formal agreement — on this, or anything else — it needs to negotiate that agreement with its cast members. The union, essentially, is claiming that Disney is now trying to impose a work restriction that it didn't formally negotiate with its cast.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter if everyone in the cast was following the spirit of the rule anyway. If a rule is to be enforced, it needs to be written down and agreed to in advance. That way, everyone knows the specifics of the rule. It's one thing to say that you're a "good friend" of Mickey when posting a picture of the Big Cheese on your Instagram. But what happens when a Disney character actor goes on an audition for another role and is asked about his or her work at Disney? Negotiated rules make clear what you can and cannot do, so that no one gets surprised.
The issue here isn't cast members trying to spoil the magic. No one wants to do that. The issue is whether Disney's management is changing the rules without its cast members' consent. Whether it has or has not will be up to the NLRB to decide.Tweet
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