Disneyland Social Clubs Allegedly Function Like Motorcycle Gangs
The conflict allegedly popped off when one club leader began to slander another online.
Roaming Disneyland park in packs as large as 100 and sporting denim and leather vests similar to those worn by motorcycle gangs, Disney superfans have been forming “Social Clubs” since 2013. Now, what was initially seen as a weird but harmless SoCal trend is being unmasked as a potential threat to the park thanks to a lawsuit filed in the Orange County Superior Court. The suit accuses the White Rabbits Social Club of attempting to intimidate the Main Street Fire Station 55 Social Club and demanding $500 in protection money for a charity fundraiser.
If it sounds like these mouseheads were running a protection racket, a scheme where one group coerces another under the perceived threat of violence, that’s because they apparently were. Funnily enough, this is a common scheme employed by motorcycle clubs that engage in criminal activity. According to the US Justice Department a motorcycle club, or MC, is a group “whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises.” On some level, what the White Rabbits Social Club is being accused of is operating like a criminal motorcycle club — the very thing they dress up to resemble.
One might argue that they were never hiding their intentions. Members of the social clubs will have an SC on their vests while members of motorcycle clubs wear an MC. If someone wants into the club, just like in an MC, they go through a period as a prospect during which other members will decide if they’ll be granted entry into the club pending a vote. Also in the vein of an MC, during the prospect phase, potential members can wear a clubs vest, but not their patch.
The lawsuit names 19 members of the White Rabbits and, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times, additionally accuses them of “defamation, invasion of privacy, conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” The lawsuit claims that John and Leslee Sarno, the leaders of the Main Street Fire Station 55 Social Club, were approached by Jakob Fite, the head of the White Rabbits, and a group of his associates who said they would see to it that Sarno and his wife were never allowed back in the park.
Since the exchange, Sarno claims that Fite has slandered him in online spaces frequented by Disneyland Social club members and on Fite’s own podcast. The most damning accusation is that Fite acquired and distributed Sarno’s private medical records. For this, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan has been named as a defendant as well. Fite rejects this claim, saying that the lawsuit is only in response to Fite questioning Sarno’s character publically. Disneyland has also been implicated in the suit for allegedly not doing enough to punish the White Rabbits.
The head of another prominent club, Sons of Anakin, which definitely has the best name, claims that the beef is “happening on a personal basis” and is “not a club thing.”