Actor who wore Donkey Kong costume for L.A. Zoo event sues Nintendo

Donkey Kong
The Nintendo character Donkey Kong. A man is suing the company after allegedly suffering a heart condition while wearing a Donkey Kong costume during a video game launch event at the Los Angeles Zoo last year.
(Nintendo of America)

Attorneys for an actor hired by Nintendo to don a Donkey Kong costume for an event at the Los Angeles Zoo said he is suing the gaming giant after suffering a serious heart condition.

Parker Mills was hired to play the role of the iconic video game ape  May 24, 2013, for the launch of a Nintendo 3DS game, “Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D,”  his attorney Tyler Barnett said Tuesday.

But the job of playing Donkey Kong proved to be stressful, Mills’ attorneys said.

Mills was denied breaks and not provided with the required ice pack to cool him down as he talked to zoo guests in the hot Southern California sun, according to the suit.


“It created a very stressful environment,” another attorney for Mills, James Carr, said.

Mills’ lawsuit against Nintendo was filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. It alleged that the company ambassador who was hired to escort him and oversee and control his activities failed to provide the proper oversight.

Mills’ attorneys said he suffered an aortic dissection, which is a tearing of aortic walls. He had to undergo surgery to implant a permanent heart defibrillator, they said.

Nintendo media representatives did not immediately return requests for comment.


A news release put out last year on Nintendo’s website touted the event as a chance for fans “to take pictures with the costumed Donkey Kong character around the zoo.”

“Fans will get a chance to spend time with Donkey Kong and some of his friends from the animal kingdom at the L.A. Zoo,” the release continued.

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