One of Nickelodeon’s top animated stars Dora Marquez (AKA Dora the Explorer) is suing the popular children's network. The young actress and active member of the Animated Screen Actors Guild who has played Dora since 2007 says she was duped into a contract that cheated her out of millions of dollars. A lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Manhattan's Supreme Court against Nickelodeon, MTV and parent company Viaco, claims Dora wasn’t fairly compensated for hours of overtime, and was paid less than minimum wage for promotional work surrounding the show. Nickelodeon also coveted Dora's frequent flyer miles and put them towards future explorations without her permission.
Dora's adventure with the legal system began last month when she accused the network of using her popularity to unjustly enrich themselves with branded products and stereotypical action figures. Dora's cousin, Diego, a high-powered environ mental lawyer and NYU grad, is representing her in what has become a very public trial. Asked to comment on the proceedings, Diego said, "My cousin Dora has worked hard for Nickelodeon. For years now she has been exploring according to their whims without complaint or question, trying to subtly carry the values and traditions she holds dear and also teaching viewers a little Spanish along the way. I believe Dora deserves what she is asking for, which is why I am taking precious time away from my Animal Rescue Shelter in the ever-depleting rain forest to represent her."
In the pre-trial hearing, Boots the monkey was by Dora's side, trying to help her solve the puzzle of the legal system's language. Asked to comment on the trial Boots remarked, "I love riddles. Call me riddles. Call me Mr. Riddles. I also love nuts, and chocolate, and baseball, and Rojo, and I love, I love, I love..." Boots was held in contempt moments after court was in session.
Representing the networks, of course, is the always dramatic entertainment lawyer, Swiper, trying yet again to steal what is righteously Dora’s. As he entered the courtroom, Dora uttered the words “Swiper no swiping” three times, but an excited Swiper said, “You’re too late,” then proceeded with jury selection. Dora, who almost always remains positive, looked completely deflated.
Then, in a surprise twist, Tico the Squirrel ran into the courtroom carrying Dora’s purple backpack with him. As he handed it to Dora he spoke in English saying, “You’re welcome.” Dora smiled, reached into her backpack, pulled out a freshly baked tray of Cowboy Cookies and placed them under Swiper’s nose. Swiper let out a shriek of delight, ate the entire tray of cookies, and slipped into a temporary diabetic coma.
The exasperated judge, exhausted from banging his gavel, ruled in favor of Dora and ordered Nickelodeon to give her a raise, upgrade her exploring transportation options, and add dental and vision for both her and Boots. Moments later, The Fiesta Trio – a grasshopper, a snail, and a frog – appeared seemingly from nowhere to congratulate Dora with a few seconds of music and a giant pitcher of margaritas.