Disney clearly “can’t win for losing,” as a saying I’ve never understood goes. At Disneyland Paris, a couple invaded a stage in the park reserved for performances so the guy could propose to his love with a castle in the background. A Disney cast member then interrupted the romantic moment, snatched the engagement ring, and motioned the couple and guests to leave the forbidden area.
There is some controversy over whether the couple had received permission for the stunt (from someone not authorized to grant it)—an Ethics Alarms principle holds that all public wedding proposals are stunts, and unethical ones—but the intervening Disney employee was undoubtedly correct that the couple and the witnesses were breaking park rules.
So your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…
Was it unethical to break up the proposal?
I’m torn on this one. On the one hand, you can’t just let park visitors go anywhere they please, and the employee was acting in accordance with park rules. On the other hand…Awwww! It was a proposal, and he spoiled the moment!
Naturally everyone on social media is beating up on Disney—gee, I wonder if the same thing would have happened if it was a gay couple. But the pair put the employees in a no-win situation, and that was unethical on their part.
The move to clear them off the stage wasn’t wrong, but it was dumb. Disney needs all the good publicity it can get right now, and it should have been foreseen that this would not go over well with the social media mob—and it didn’t. Disney quickly offered a public mea culpa, saying,
We regret how this was handled. We have apologized to the couple involved and offered to make it right.
I don’t think the company had another choice, but if that employee is disciplined in any way, I hope he sues.