Wifeto ignore his daughter and his niece denies the park’s explanation of the incident, saying it wasn’t just a misunderstanding.
The Philadelphia-area theme park, which is based on the popular children’s TV show ‘Sesame Street,’ has come under fire after Jodi Brown shared a video of a performer dressed as Rosita’s character appearing to fire her daughter and his niece, who are black, in a fashion show.
Brown’s video, which has gone viral on Instagram, shows the performer seemingly waving “no” to the girls after clapping and interacting with several other guests.
Brown told CBS News that when the character drifted away from the children, she immediately stopped recording the video and asked for a supervisor.
She said the girls wanted to know what they had done to justify the artist’s dismissal. “I had to explain to them, ‘You haven’t done anything. It’s okay. I’m going to talk to a manager and find out why it happened,'” she said, adding that the girls were “sad” and “sorry.”
Sesame Place said in a statement Tuesday that the park stands for “inclusiveness and equality in all its forms” and does not condone any behavior in the parks contrary to that commitment.
“In relation to yesterday’s incident, the costumes our performers are wearing sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels and sometimes our performers miss requests for hugs from our guests,” the statement, posted to Instagram on Monday, reads.
Sesame Place said the performer was not directing the “no” gesture at the two young girls, but said it was a response to someone else in the crowd who repeatedly asked the interpreter to hold their baby for a photo, which is not allowed. “Rosita’s character did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated by the misunderstanding,” the statement read.
The park said it spoke with the family, apologized, and invited them to meet the characters.
Brown, however, told CBS News that was not what happened. “No, standing next to me, no one asked them to hold a child or take a picture,” she said.
Since Brown’s video attracted attention, videos showing similar situations where a Sesame Place character appears to be ignoring children have been shared by other black parents.
Brown’s attorney, B’Ivory LaMarr, told CBS News they’ve been in touch with the park and said “a few things” need to happen to resolve the incident, “the first being a formal apology. that we believe to be genuine and genuine.”
“We believe Sesame Place made a gross error in their first statement,” he said. “We believe their claims are completely false and we believe we have evidence to disprove that.”
LaMarr also said the individual in the suit should be fired. “We believe there is no place for racism to exist at any theme park,” he said.
He also wants Sesame Place to take responsibility for any mental distress families have encountered at their park.
LaMarr said he believed there was a pattern to this behavior at the theme park, adding that he had been contacted by 20 to 30 families with similar allegations.
“I will say the company has reached out, we are now in a dialogue to try to come to an amicable resolution regarding this issue,” LaMarr said.
In a statement to CBS News on Thursday, Sesame Place said, “We sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize to the Brown family for what they have gone through. To be very clear, what the two young girls went through, what the family went through, is unacceptable. in our park, with our team, and we own it. It is our responsibility to make it better for children and family and to be better for all families.
Park said it was still in communication with Brown and LaMarr and reiterated that it was open to meeting and apologizing to the family in person.
“We are committed to learning all we can from this situation to make meaningful change. We want every child who comes to our park to feel included, seen and inspired,” the park said, adding that it “establishes mandatory training for all of our employees so that we can better recognize, understand and provide an inclusive, fair and entertaining experience for all of our customers.”
“We take this very seriously, we are heartbroken by what these young girls and this family have been through at our park,” Sesame Place said.
The Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind the TV show ‘Sesame Street’, said in a statement that what the children experienced is unacceptable and has contacted the park, which is a partner under Licence. The theme park is owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.
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