Costumed Donkey Kong actor suing Nintendo for his broken heart

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Parker Mills, an actor hired by Nintendo to wear a Donkey Kong costume at a 2013 Los Angeles Zoo event, is suing the gaming giant for damages due to stress caused by what he alleges were inhumane working conditions (via LA Times).

The event in question occurred on May 24, 2013 at the Los Angeles Zoo, celebrating the release of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D on Nintendo’s 3DS handheld. A press release described it as a chance “to take pictures with the costumed Donkey Kong character around the zoo.” According to Mills’ attorneys, he was denied breaks and not provided with a required ice pack to stay cool while working inside the heavy costume, often in direct sunlight.

Mills subsequently suffered an aortic dissection (a tearing of his heart’s aortic wall), which required a permanent defibrillator implant. His attorneys allege that the heart problem was caused by the extremely stressful environment created when Nintendo’s company ambassador failed to provide proper support  and oversight for Mills.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday, December 1, 2014 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Nintendo has not yet issued a statement at time of this writing.

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