CHARLOTTE, N.C. – More videos are surfacing of characters at a children’s amusement park appearing to ignore Black children, sparking growing discrimination allegations against the park. It comes after one mom’s cell phone video has now gone viral, that shows how her kids were treated at Sesame Place near Philadelphia. The video shows the character giving people high-fives during a parade. When the two young Black girls reach out to the character, the character shakes their head and hand ‘no’ and walks away.
The mother says it was an intentional act of racism, and she will never step foot there again. Jodi Brown says, “I couldn’t believe that it happened, it’s a child theme park, the kids are supposed to be happy, and acknowledged and greeted and having a good time.” She adds, “The fact that this is even going to be a core memory when it comes to Sesame Place is actually disgusting and unbelievable to me.”
Sesame Place released two statements apologizing for this incident. One says in part, “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 Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding.”
But now, other parents are coming forward with similar stories about sesame place characters, and sharing their videos online. The videos show several instances of Black children trying to get the attention of the characters, but appear to be ignored. The characters then go on to hug or high-five other white kids nearby. In one instance, a character is even seen coming up and knocking one young Black girl over.
In a second statement, Sesame Place says in part that it will conduct training for the employees so they better understand, recognize, and deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience to their guests.
Our question of the night: do you believe Sesame Place’s explanation?
This episode features:
WCCB TV’s Morgan Fogarty
WCCB News Edge contributor Ashley Anderson