WARNING: The following story contains descriptions of alleged sexual violence and animal abuse.
Longtime Disney voice actor Jim Cummings, best known for his work as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, has been accused of sexual assault and animal cruelty by his ex-wife, Stephanie Cummings.
The pair, which married in 2001 and divorced in 2011, are currently locked in a bitter custody battle over their two daughters, aged 14 and 11. In documents obtained by The Blast, Stephanie claims that Jim “has engaged in physical, sexual and emotional abuse including but not limited to death threats, rape, and various sexual deviant behavior forced upon [her] without [her] consent.”
Stephanie also claims that she has two separate domestic violence restraining orders against her ex-husband, including one from an incident from August 2011, where she alleges that Jim visited her at her home, slapped her on the buttocks, and forced himself onto her in front of their then 4-year old daughter. “He later came up behind me,” Stephanie added, “grabbed my arm, spun me around, and forcefully put his hand on the back of my neck and kissed me while holding me in place against the wall.” Stephanie reported the incident to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office, who suggested she file a domestic violence restraining order.
Jim does not dispute the incident, but remembers it happening differently, saying he was “joking and laughing” with Stephanie, and then “I touched her slightly on the butt.” He added that Stephanie gave him a consensual hug, claiming that “the whole incident was happy.” He then said that Stephanie, “who is much taller than I am, and a large woman, made no objection to anything.”
Stephanie also claims that Jim raped her in 2013, and that she filed a police report, but wouldn’t elaborate on the matter. Following the incident, she then says she checked into a rehab facility for “co-dependency,” where Jim showed up without warning and was subsequently asked to leave.
The pair have also been in a battle for custody and support payments. In legal documents, Stephanie claims Jim would withhold payments of support and “demand sex from me in exchange for meeting his support obligations.”
Stephanie claims that the constant harassment from Jim caused a decline in her health, so in 2017, she relocated to Utah with their daughters.
During a visit to see the children, she claims Jim asked to stay at the house, which she allowed. However, during the night, she claims Jim was “standing over me with his erect penis in my hand. He was using my hand to stroke his penis while my youngest daughter was asleep on the other side of me. She was 10 years old at the time.”
Stephanie added, “I told him to stop and get out of the house. He refused. He then came back and did the same thing, insisting I masturbate him or he would wake Lulu up. I did as he asked given his threat to wake up my daughter and my worry that I could not control what he would do in front of her.”
After that incident, Stephanie says she obtained a second restraining order against Jim, which was filed in Utah. In 2018, both Stephanie and Jim testified in court and the restraining order was issued against Jim for two years.
Stephanie claims that “the primary reason James and I separated was his abuse of alcohol, marijuana, and Adderall.” Jim denies using Adderall. In the court documents, Stephanie added that Jim had been in rehab twice for substance abuse, once in 2005, and in 2010, where he checked out after four days, and then returned for another five days, where he was kicked out for allegedly using Adderall. Jim doesn’t deny his rehab visits, but denies using Adderall, claiming that his substance abuse consisted of “primarily Vicodin as well as alcohol.”
Stephanie has also accused Jim of animal abuse. According to Stephanie, the pair had bought a dog and the animal urinated in the house. Jim then allegedly “took the dog and placed it inside a metal bucket outside of the house on a day which it was over 100 degrees, then left it there for a long time,” adding, “The dog came close to dying.”
In response, Jim admitted that the incident happened, but adds, “There was an incident where I put a ‘tub’ (not a metal bucket) over a dog to isolate it briefly as a form of discipline to its behavior at our vet’s suggestion, and unfortunately I forgot the dog was there for a while, but then of course I released it.”
According to Jim, he took the dog to the vet to get checked out and claims it was in fine health.
Stephanie also claims in a separate incident, Jim had “taken a broom and hit the puppy so hard that he shattered the puppy’s hip necessitating surgery.”
Jim has said he has tried to settle things “amicably” with his ex-wife but adds, “She will have outbursts of hostility directed at me, and often change in her behavior and attitude comes without warning.”
He has also alleged she may have a mental health disorder, and that she has been taking medication.
Jim is also very concerned about his future with Disney, saying that Stephanie has threatened to ruin his longstanding career. He claims she threatened, “I will go and I will ruin your reputation … I am going to tell people Winnie the Pooh is a woman beating, drug addicted freak!”
Jim has been the voice of Winnie the Pooh since 1988, taking over the role from Hal Smith (who took over the role from original voice actor Sterling Holloway in 1981), and begin performing Tigger part-time in 1989, before becoming the permanent voice actor for the character in 2000. He’s best known for being the voice of Darkwing Duck, Pete, Bonkers D. Bobcat, Ray from The Princess and the Frog, as well as the narrator of Epcot’s Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Cummings has also been announcedto voice Hondo Ohnaka for the attraction Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which will open at Disneyland later this month and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in August. Depending on whatever follows these accusations, this might affect the status of the audio-animatronic in the attraction.
We will update you as the story develops.