Sesame Place issues new apology amid racism claims and demands from family

LANGHORNE, Pa. (WPVI) — Sesame Place issued a new apology Thursday night after video appeared capturing a costumed character ignoring two black children during a parade last weekend at the theme park in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

“We sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize to the Brown family for what they have experienced. To put it bluntly, what the two young girls went through, what the family went through is unacceptable. It happened at our park, with our team, and we stand behind it. It is our responsibility to make this better for the children and for the family and for all families,” part of the statement said.

Jodi Brown says her daughter and niece were snubbed by character Rosita on Saturday July 16.

The nine-second video, posted by Brown on Instagram, showed the character giving high-fives to a white child and a white woman, then gesturing “no” and walking away from the two girls who spread their arms for each other a hug and high-five had extended the parade.

Brown says the character was intentionally racist towards her family.

“Right after the character walked past them, there was another little girl who was of a different race and[Rosita]was hugging them,” the mother said.

Brown was accompanied by her attorney, B’Ivory LaMarr, to a press conference outside the Sesame Workshop in New York City on Wednesday.

LaMarr said they don’t want to sue the company and it’s not about money; He said it’s about doing things right.

“You’ve been telling these kids for years, ‘Come and play, everything’s fine, nice neighbors there, we’ll meet there, can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?’ And once these kids figure out how to get to Sesame Street, they turn to these friendly neighbors with open arms for what? To get fired? To be rejected? And to have your park defeated,” LaMarr said.

Sesame Place says it has been in contact with the family since Sunday and has asked for a personal apology.

“We want to listen to them to understand how the experience has impacted their families and to understand what we can do better for them and all guests who visit our parks,” the theme park said.

The family’s attorney said Wednesday that more “evidence” could be released depending on Sesame Place’s actions.

The status of the further measures was not immediately clear on Thursday evening.

LaMarr said a big problem is that this wasn’t an isolated incident, and he’s been contacted by at least two dozen other families who claim they’ve experienced racism at Sesame Square.

Cydney Moore, who lives in North Carolina, saw the video after it went viral. She says the same Sesame Square character ignored her two-year-old son on July 8th.

“He was disappointed. He was disappointed. He didn’t get it,” Moore said.

The Brown family said they showed the video to Sesame Place immediately after the incident and said the character didn’t act that way towards white children who were there.

“This mother tried to solve this problem immediately. It wasn’t about advertising. It wasn’t about money. She immediately went to the administration of the park. She showed them the same video that millions of people in this country and the world have seen. Sesame Place had the opportunity to see this video back then. They decided to turn it down. They decided to release this family,” LaMarr said.

Brown said staff told her there was no supervisor available at the park at the time.

LaMarr said they want the person in the Rosita costume fired. He also wants the park to cover any mental health care costs for the children incurred as a result of the incident.

Action News reached out to a spokeswoman for B’Ivory LaMarr Thursday night, but we’ve received no response.

Read Sesame Place’s full statement below:

“We sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize to the Brown family for what they have experienced. To put it bluntly, what the two young girls went through, what the family went through is unacceptable. It happened at our park, with our team, and we stand for it. It is our responsibility to make this better for the children and the family and for all families.

We have been in contact with the family since Sunday morning and are staying in touch through their attorney, Mr. LaMarr. We have offered to meet the family and their attorney in person earlier today to offer our personal apologies and to confirm that we hold ourselves accountable for what happened. We want to listen to them to understand how the experience impacted their families and what we can do better for them and all guests who visit our parks. We aim to learn as much as we can from this situation in order to bring about meaningful change. We want every child that comes to our park to feel included, seen and inspired.

We take action and review our practices to identify changes needed, both immediate and long-term. We are introducing mandatory training for all of our employees so that we can better recognize, understand and provide an inclusive, equitable and fun experience for all of our guests. We have already worked with nationally recognized experts in this field.

We take this very seriously; We are heartbroken by what these young girls and family have experienced at our park. It is contrary to our values, principles and purposes. We are determined to work tirelessly and purposefully to improve this situation. We will do the necessary work over the long term – not just in public, but also behind the scenes and within ourselves.”

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https://6abc.com/sesame-place-apology-philadelphia-incident-bucks-county-parade/12066388/ Sesame Place issues new apology amid racism claims and demands from family

Alley Einstein

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