Sesame Place, a Sesame Street-themed amusement park in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, is now under fire after more damning videos have surfaced following viral footage showing a costumed character from the beloved show ignoring two young Black girls during a parade on Saturday.
The uproar started after the children’s mother took to Instagram, sharing a video of the incident. In the nine-second clip, her daughters appear to reach out for a hug from the Rosita character as she approaches. The costumed caricature stops to give a few high fives to crowd goers, but when she finally gets to the young girls, Rosita seemingly shakes her head and keeps walking past.
“THIS DISGUSTING person blatantly told our kids NO then proceeded to hug the little white girl next to us!” the children’s mother @__jodiii__ wrote on Instagram. “Then when I went to complain about it, they looking at me like I’m crazy. I asked the lady who the character was and I wanted to see a supervisor and she told me SHE DIDNT KNOW !! I will never step foot in @sesameplace ever again !” she added.
The concerning video sent the internet spiraling over the weekend. Now, several other videos have surfaced, showing Rosita and a few more Sesame Street characters ignoring children of color.
Sesame Place issues an apology as the family seeks legal action
The family of the two young Black girls is now pursuing legal action against Sesame Place. They strongly believe the incident was racially motivated.
“While we hate to rush to judgment to consider ‘race’ as the motivating factor to explain the performer’s actions, such actions both before and after the young girl’s request only lead to one conclusion,” B’Ivory LaMarr, the attorney representing the family told TMZ.
Initially, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind “Sesame Street,” issued a statement defending the questionable videos online.
“The performer portraying the Rosita character has confirmed that the ‘no’ hand gesture seen several times in the video was not directed to any specific person rather it was a response to multiple requests from someone in the crowd who asked Rosita to hold their child for a photo which is not permitted,” the original response read.
Then, as backlash began to spiral across social media, Sesame Place released another statement apologizing to the family.
“We sincerely apologize to the family for their experience in our park on Saturday; we know that it’s not OK,” the company’s follow-up statement read. “We will conduct training for our employees, so they better understand, recognize and deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience to our guests.”
Black celebs call out Sesame Place
Prominent voices in the Black community have spoken out against the unjustifiable footage on social media. Tariq Nasheed accused Sesame Place of being “anti-Black.”
While actress Yvette Nicole Brown tweeted:
Singer and children’s book author Kelly Rowland chimed in on the issue via her Instagram story, telling fans:
“So had that been me, that whole parade would’ve been in flames. Are you serious? You’re not going to speak to my child?”
Representatives from the park claimed they issued a direct apology to the family. They also “invited them back for a special meet-and-greet opportunity” with the park’s characters,” according to the New York Post. But the family said they never received the offer.
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