Sesame Place responds to allegation that character ignored two Black children
Sesame Place, the Philadelphia-area theme park based on the popular children's TV show "Sesame Street," has come under fire after a Black mother said her daughter and niece were ignored by a performer dressed like a character. Jodi Brown shared a video of the incident and it has gone viral on Instagram.
She and her lawyer are now in communication with Sesame Place, which responded to the allegations, saying in a statement the "brand, park and employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms," and that they have contacted and apologized to the family.
The video shows a performer, dressed as the character Rosita, dismissing her daughter and niece at the theme park. "We were on our way out of Sesame Place and the kids wanted to stop to see the characters. THIS DISGUSTING person blatantly told our kids NO then proceeded to hug the little white girl next to us!" Brown wrote on Instagram.
The video shows the performer waving at other children, but apparently saying "no" to the children "Then when I went to complain about it, they looking at me like I'm crazy," the post continues. "I asked the lady who the character was and I wanted to see a supervisor and she told me SHE DIDNT KNOW !!"
In an interview with CBS News on Wednesday, Brown said when the character ignored the children, she immediately stopped recording the video and asked for a supervisor.
Brown said the girls wanted to know what they did to warrant the dismissal from the performer. "I had to explain to them, 'You didn't do anything. It's okay. I'm going to speak to a manager and find out why it happened,'" she said, adding that the girls were "sad, heartbroken."
Sesame Place on Tuesday said the park and its performers "stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms," adding that it does not tolerate any behavior in the parks that is contrary to that commitment.
"Regarding the incident yesterday, the costumes our performers wear sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels and sometimes our performers miss hug requests from our guests," the statement, posted on Instagram on Monday, reads.
Sesame Place said the performer was not directing the "no" gesture at any specific person, but said was a response to someone asking them to hold their baby for a photo, which is not permitted. "The Rosita character did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated by the misunderstanding," the statement reads.
Brown, however, said Wednesday that it wasn't just a misunderstanding. "No, standing next to me there wasn't anyone asking them to hold a child or take a photo," she said.
The park on Tuesday said it has spoken with the family and apologized and invited them back to meet the characters.
But Brown's lawyer, B'Ivory Lamarr, told CBS News on Wednesday that the park would need to do "a couple things" to resolve the incident, "the first being a formal apology that we believe is authentic and genuine."
The Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the television show "Sesame Street," said in a statement that what the children experienced is unacceptable and it has reached out to the park, which is a licensed partner. The theme park is owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.
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