Sesame Street theme park apologizes after mascot denies Black girls hugs
One Sesame StreetThe theme park has apologized and promised more training for its staff after a video showed a costumed character waving to two six-year-old black girls during a parade. is spread on the network.
The nine-second video, posted to Instagram on Saturday by Jodi Brown, the mother of one of the girls, shows the character Rosita beating a child and a white woman, then gesturing “no.” and walked away from two girls whose arms were outstretched for hugs and high arms during the parade at Sesame Place in Philadelphia.
“I will never set foot in @sesameplace again,” Brown said online.
The family’s attorney, B’Ivory LaMarr, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the family is appalled and disturbed by the incident and that “the trauma has been passed on to their children.”
In an initial statement on Sunday, Sesame Place said the park and its staff represent “inclusivity and equality in all its forms.” The statement also notes that performers sometimes miss hug requests because the costumes they wear make it difficult for viewers to see on a lower level.
“Performer Rosita did not intentionally ignore the girls and was devastated by the misunderstanding,” the statement said.
Call for boycott
However, many people expressed outrage online and some called for a boycott of the amusement park.
The park issued a second statement on Monday, apologizing again and promising it would “take action to do better.” Among those efforts will be comprehensive training for employees.
Both the statement and the video sparked an apparent reaction on social media, which LaMarr said helped shed light on “the existence of these issues.”
“A lot of African-Americans tend to be very passive because we are so used to dealing with this type of racism in so many different spaces,” he said.
Located in Langhorne, a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Sesame Place is officially Sesame Street amusement park for more than four decades. It opened in 1980.
“You would expect a reputable institution, one that is as revered as Sesame Street and Sesame Place stand by the principles and values they embody,” said LaMarr. What the family saw instead was a company born and they very much denied the harm caused. “