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Family demands Sesame Place do more amid allegations of racism and wants to fire worker

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NEW YORK (WPVI) — The families of the two young black girls at the center of a viral video recorded at Sesame Place in Bucks County, Pennsylvania last weekend have hired a lawyer and are demanding further action from the theme park after they say the children were rejected by the character.

Jodi Brown, who posted the video online, and her 6-year-old niece joined lawyer B’Ivory Lamarr at a press conference outside the Sesame Workshop in New York on Wednesday.

Lamarr said they don’t want to sue the company and it’s not about the money; he said it was about fixing things, and that hasn’t happened yet.

“You’ve been telling these kids for years, ‘Come and play, it’s all right, there are friendly neighbors, this is where we meet, can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?’ And once these kids figure out how to get to Sesame Street, they’re drawn to those friendly neighbors with open arms, for what? To get them fired?

A nine-second video posted to Instagram on Saturday by Brown, the mother of another young girl, shows Rosita’s character high-five a white child and a woman, then gesturing “no” and walking away from the two girls who had their own relationship. hands outstretched for hugs and high fives during a parade on Sesame Square in Langhorne, near Philadelphia.

Lamarr said he has more documentation of the incident and may release it depending on Sesame Place’s next steps.

“We have the information that we have – we are going to give this company, they had less than 12 hours to present the information with a very sincere and credible apology – or we are going to provide evidence showing exactly what happened in addition to the video. you’ve already seen,” Lamarr said.

Lamarr said the evidence relates to family comments that after Rosita’s character walked past two girls, he hugged a white child.

In an initial statement on Sunday, Sesame Place said the park and its staff stand for “inclusiveness and equality in all forms.” The statement also notes that performers sometimes miss requests for hugs because the costumes they wear make it difficult to see at lower levels.

“Rosita’s performer didn’t intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated by the misunderstanding,” the statement said.

However, many people expressed outrage online, and some called for a boycott of the amusement park.

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

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

On Monday, the park released a second statement, again apologizing and promising that it is “taking action to do better.” Among these efforts will be inclusive employee training.

The family said they showed the video of Sesame Place right after it happened, stating that the character didn’t act that way towards the white kids who were there.

“This mother tried to resolve this issue immediately. It was not about advertising. It was not about money. She immediately went to the management of the park. She showed them the very video that millions of people across the country and the world saw. Sesame Place had the opportunity watch this video at that time. They decided to reject it. They decided to fire this family,” Lamarr said.

Brown said staff told her that there was no lookout in the park at the time.

The company also invited the family to return to the park, promising more fun, but their lawyer said they weren’t ready to accept it.

“I just feel like the apology wasn’t sincere, and I believe the apology is being made now because it caused so much noise,” Brown said. “I want them to be able to do the right thing as I, my niece and my daughter have suffered from embarrassment (and) discriminatory behavior.”

Lamarr said they want the man in the Rosita costume to be fired. He also wants the park to pay for any mental health costs the children will need as a result of the incident.

The family and lawyer said Brown’s daughter, who was not at the press conference, was at home in self-isolation.

“We reject any suggestion that the performer’s actions last Saturday were anything but deliberate,” Lamarr said. “I know our black girls are magical, but I didn’t know they were invisible. We are tired of your excuses. We’re tired of excuses. We will not tolerate racism in this country.”

Lamarr said the main problem is that this was not an isolated case, and he was contacted by at least two dozen other families claiming to have experienced racism at Sesame Place.

He said those allegations were being investigated.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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