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Queen Mary Officer May Be Next Fired by Disney for Refusing To Shave

December 27, 1989

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ The first officer of the Queen Mary said he’ll probably be the next to walk the plank following firings of two waiters whose mustaches ran afoul of a Walt Disney Co. grooming code.

First Officer John Magness said he planned to keep the mustache he has worn for 42 years while serving on ships around the world.

″I’m going to work, punch in as usual, and if they want to fire me, they can find me and fire me,″ Magness, 65, said Tuesday, adding that he would fight the anticipated dismissal in court.

Waiters Reza Nazertehrani and Tom Nicolai were dismissed Christmas Eve for refusing to shave facial hair forbidden by Disney, which owns the leaseholds on the permanently docked ocean liner in Long Beach Harbor.

″I got a beautiful present from the Disney corporation - my pink slip,″ said Nazertehrani, a 12 1/2 -year Queen Mary employee.

Nicolai, 26, said the 35-year-old Disney policy barring facial hair is out of date.

Both men said they would file union grievances protesting their dismissals.

The grooming code bans mustaches, beards and long hair on men. Bright eye shadow, red fingernails or two-toned hair for women are forbidden.

Nazertehrani, 43, said the issue involved more than appearance.

″I am Iranian,″ he said. ″This mustache is part of my culture. It is a thing of pride.″

Five or fewer Queen Mary workers have lost their jobs for refusing to shave, said Rich Kerlin, a spokesman for the tourist attraction. He said the firing of Nazertehrani and Nicolai on Christmas Eve was an accident of scheduling.

Disney bought rights to the ship a couple years ago, but only imposed its companywide dress and grooming codes on it recently in conjunction with a promotional campaign.

″I think the initial reluctance people expressed has subsided. It was controversial for only a week or two,″ Kerlin said.

The no-facial hair restriction puzzles some who recall that Walt Disney sported a mustache.

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