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Attorney Vows To Investigate After Viral Video Appears To Show Sesame Place Character Ignore 2 Young Black Girls

LANGHORNE, Pa. (CBS) -- A family is calling for sweeping change at Sesame Place. This comes after a mother claims her daughter and niece, who are Black, were discriminated against by an actor in costume last weekend. An attorney for the family says the park's response so far has not been enough.

The nine-second video posted on social media Saturday at Sesame Place in Langhorne has gone viral, and it's sparking outrage.

Jodi Brown, the mother of one of the 6-year-old girls seen in the video, described the moment it appears to show a Sesame Street character, Rosita, waving off her daughter and her niece. The girls were anxious to get a hug and high-five from the character who they claim had done just that with other White children in the parade line.

"First thing as a parent, you want to defend your child and you want to protect their innocence," Brown said Wednesday.

Brown and her daughter were flanked by their attorney, B'Ivory LaMarr, along with community activists in New York City Wednesday, demanding action be taken by the park to address what they're describing as a blatantly racist incident that crushed the little girls' spirits.

"What has taken place at Sesame Place this past Saturday in the months and years prior is utterly disgusting," LaMarr said. "We cannot and will not allow our children to leave a park leaving empty when they should leave feeling empowered."

LaMarr said more families are coming forward.

"I know our Black girls are magic, but I didn't know that they were invisible," LaMarr said. "We are tired of your excuses. We are tired of justifications. We will not tolerate racism in this country."

Sesame Place officials are claiming it was a misunderstanding and that the performer inside the costume is devastated by the controversy.

Officials with Sesame Place said in a statement on Monday, "We sincerely apologize to the family for their experience in our park on Saturday; we know that it's not OK. We are taking actions to do better. We are committed to making this right."

Family members of the two young girls want more than just an apology. They're calling for immediate termination of the performer, costs covered for mental health support for the girls and further action to combat racial bias in theme parks around the country.

"I just want them to be able to do the right thing," Brown said. "Being that me, my niece and my daughter have all suffered one embarrassment, discriminatory behavior that should not happen during these days and times."

Brown's daughter was not at the press conference Wednesday, explaining her daughter is in isolation because of the incident.

Sesame Place's statement also promised additional diversity training for staff. Eyewitness News reached out to park officials Wednesday for their response to the family's press conference. We have yet to hear back.

CBS3's Ross DiMattei and Natasha Brown contributed to this report.

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