Former Disneyland Cast Member Details Harassment Claims

June 4, 2020, 5:00 PM · A former Disneyland Resort cast member who starred in Frozen - Live at the Hyperion has come forward to accuse the show's former director of racial and sexual harassment. Cooper Howell performed Prince Hans in the show and detailed his experience in a post on his Facebook page.

Howell, who is Black, first lauded original director Liesl Tommy, who cast him as Prince Hans in the show, one of several examples of color-blind casting for the production.

"Imagine getting paid good money to put on that $10,000 costume and waltzing out to 4000 people a day to play a really amazing part," he wrote. "A fantastic, evil, complicated, person who sings a killer duet and then grabs the show by the throat with a vicious about-face monologue... and not once was my race ever mentioned cuz it didn't matter. What was being prized was Cooper, my talent, not my skin color that I never asked for. Heaven."

But when Tommy returned to New York, Roger Castellano took over as show director and implemented several changes to the show, including disproportionate notes on Black cast members, Howell wrote.

"When you're an actor, thats the gig... until we started comparing our notes with the actors that played our same parts and none of them, NONE, would get the same notes," Howell wrote.

Howell also accused Castellano of demoting Black cast members and of sexual harassment regarding costuming. Howell said that he went to Disneyland HR, but did not receive any support. Read the post for the full detail.

I have reached out to the Disneyland Resort for comment. For those of you who need a multimedia cue to jog your memory of Cooper's performance, here is a clip posted by a fan to Twitter that also features Domonique Paton at Princess Anna.

Replies (1)

June 4, 2020 at 5:55 PM

Gotta say, I think it was great for Disney use color blind casting in the Frozen show at DCA. I feel the same about HULU spectacular show "The Great". I also support the choice for the character of Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be a POC as I do the majority of the cast of Hamilton.
More so than any of the others it is important for Frozen. When a child turns to their parent and asks, "Why is Princess Anna Asian/Black/Latin?" the parent can respond, "Because the color of a person's skin should not limit what they can do with their life."
I'm disgusted by the Director in this story and I'm also extremely disappointed by any cast members who worked in the show who failed to back up his story with HR. I have to also say, I'm a little troubled by the fact Mr. Howell didn't know what HR is, but performers often move in different orbits than the typical employee - still, he's an adult who didn't know what HR is...odd.
That aside, I think we all hold Disney to a high standard and this is doing nothing to keep them there. I look forward to hearing what their response is, if any.

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