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Suit Claims Park Violated Civil Rights

Times Staff Writer

A Riverside County woman and her daughter sued Disneyland on Monday, claiming they were prevented from entering the park after they had purchased tickets because of their “hair color and hair style.”

The suit, filed in Orange County Superior Court, charges that Disneyland violated the civil rights of Victoria L. Penley and her daughter, Kathryn L., and caused them to suffer humiliation and emotional distress.

The suit seeks $10,000 for the alleged violation of state civil rights laws and unspecified damages for the other injuries.

“We would stop someone from coming in if we decided that their hair style or hair color might be offensive to our guests inside the park,” said Disneyland spokesman Bob Roth, who was not familiar with the Penley incident. “Usually, though, it’s if somebody is wearing something that has a slogan we think is in poor taste.”

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The Penleys and their lawyer, Richard M. English, could not be reached to elaborate on the allegations in the lawsuit.

The suit claims that on May 6, 1984, the Penleys and some friends had purchased tickets at the park’s booths but that the Penleys were denied entrance by ticket-takers at the turnstiles because of their hair color and hair style.

Other Disney officials then appeared, the suit said, and told the Penleys that they would be physically removed if they did not leave. The Penleys were not reimbursed for their tickets, the suit alleges.

The suit did not indicate if the Penleys had punk rock hair styles, which, Roth said, would be grounds for barring people only if “it seems to be an extreme case.”

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