LinaBell, Disney's pink plush fox from their Duffy and Friends toy line, is all the rage in China. Cute, smart, and (usually) sweet with a fluffy tail that resembles cotton candy, fans will queue up for hours to greet her character at Shanghai's Disneyland, where she debuted in September. But a bit of sass got into LinaBell over the weekend, and fans are not happy.
Two "rude" incidents in particular have sparked a LinaBell backlash in China. The first breach of sugar-coated Disney etiquette occurred when a fan asked her to shake her tail. Rather than give her tail a shake, however, LinaBell pointed her finger toward the park's exit gates.
LinaBell's other insult was hurled at a person who said "give me a kiss." At first the fox obliged, blowing a kiss, but immediately had second thoughts, throwing the kiss on the ground and crushing it with her foot.
These acts of rebellion became viral in China when they were caught on video and posted to Weibo, displeasing at least some commenters.
From Vice, who first reported on the rogue fox:
The clip sparked outrage among some fans, who accused Disney of letting a poorly-trained performer ruin the warm persona of their favorite fox.
"She is supposed to be a brave, adventurous little fox, but some performers are making her look so rude," a commenter posted on microblogging site Weibo.
"Can't even give a kiss?" said one of the most liked comments the same site. "Then why spend money visiting Disney? To get offended?"
"The performers are working hard no matter what," another top-voted comment said. "But please treasure visitors' sincerity in visiting from afar and queuing for hours, just to exchange a few words with her." …
Fans speculate that at least three people have acted as LinaBell, since the costume appears to fit slightly differently on each performer. When a LinaBell video gets posted, people attempt to guess who's inside by closely studying how the fluffy pants measure with the performer's legs.
Some believe the rude LinaBell was played by a new member of staff, and are demanding Disney give more stringent training to cast members. Other internet users have advocated for more empathy for the performer, who had likely worked long hours in a heavy costume.
Disney has not yet responded to Vice World News for comment.
Here is LinaBell seen in better spirits: