Village People Suing Disney for Hostile Treatment During 2018 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival

Shannen Ace

A performing group is on stage under blue lights with a "Garden Rocks" sign in the background. They are dressed in vibrant and varied costumes, including police, biker, and Native American-themed outfits.

Village People Suing Disney for Hostile Treatment During 2018 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival

The Village People is suing Disney over reportedly hostile treatment during performances at the 2018 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival.

Village People Suing Disney

Karen Willis, wife of Village People founding member Victor Willis and manager of the band’s trademark for live performances, filed suit against Disney in late 2023. Disney filed a motion to dismiss but the court recently rejected the motion, allowing the suit to move forward.

As outlined by Willis, the Village People and Disney had a good relationship until 2018. The band had performed at the resort annually for several years. However, issues arose after a series of changes to the band’s lineup and lawsuits between members.

After Victor Willis won the right to use the Village People name, his group performed at the EPCOT festival for two days in 2018.

Karen Willis alleges that during those two days, Disney treated her and the band terribly. She said she wanted to help with front-of-house duties but Cast Members physically blocked her and ushered her away. She claims she and her husband were physically attacked by fans, who she thinks were planted by angry ex-Village People members. Willis says Disney did not provide the extra security her husband’s contract required.

Willis also claims that Disney initially made out checks for payment to the wrong people or groups. When she and her husband attempted to resolve the issue, Disney allegedly gave them the cold shoulder.

Willis claims Disney has purposefully not hired the Village People since 2018. Disney’s motion to dismiss stated they had a right not to hire the group.

Willis and the Village People are seeking over $20 million in damages.

Source: TMZ

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