LANGHORN, Pennsylvania (CBS) — Wednesday morning, we heard from a mother who posted a viral video that appears to show a character in Sesame Place being snubbed by two young black girls. The video has received over 500,000 views.
And the mother who took him is now speaking.
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She said she couldn’t believe what had just happened at Sesame Place. The video shows an employee dressed as the character refusing to high-five two small black children.
“The fact that it happened at all, the fact that it’s going to be a major memory for them when it comes to Sesame Place, to me, that’s actually disgusting and unbelievable,” said Jodi Brown.
Brown says her daughter and niece were saddened by what happened at Sesame Place, which is why she posted the video to Instagram on Saturday.
Brown said that Rosita’s character walked through the parade, high five and hugged other children, but deliberately ignored her daughter and niece. She believes it was because of the color of their skin.
However, representatives of Sesame Place claim that this was a misunderstanding.
Brown just wants Sesame to take responsibility for what happened.
“When I first posted the photo the next day, they sent me a message asking me to call and speak to the manager, she was supposed to call me back and I have not received a response since the whole situation went viral.” Brown said.
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Sesame Place claims it was all a misunderstanding and that the Rosita-dressed performer is devastated by the controversy.
Sesame Place officials say the move Rosita can be seen making is that she is actually giving up on another mother who wanted her child taken away, which is not allowed.
On Tuesday, Sesame Place admitted it was aware of the incident, saying in a statement it was “taking steps to get better.”
“We sincerely apologize to the family for what they spent in our park on Saturday; we know it’s not normal. We are taking action to improve. We are committed to doing it right,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We will provide training for our employees to better understand, recognize and provide an inclusive, fair and fun experience for our guests. For over 40 years, Sesame Place has worked to uphold the values of respect, inclusion and belonging. We strive to do better so that children and families feel special, noticed and involved when they come to our parks.”
Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind Sesame Street and a licensed partner of Sesame Place, called the incident “unacceptable” and instructed Sesame Place workers to undergo bias training.
— Sesame Workshop (@SesameWorkshop) July 18, 2022
“Sesame Workshop is aware of the recent incident at Sesame Place Philadelphia, which we take very seriously. What these children have gone through is unacceptable. We have contacted Sesame Place, our licensed park partner, and they have assured us that they will provide bias training and carefully review how we interact with families and guests,” Sesame Workshop tweeted. “As a global non-profit educational organization whose mission is to help children become smarter, stronger and kinder. The Sesame Workshop has always stood for respect, inclusion and belonging and is committed to providing the highest quality engaging experiences for all children and families. We demand the same high standards from our partners. We will continue to work with our longtime partner Sesame Place to ensure appropriate action is taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.”
Sesame Place also said that the organization apologized to the families and invited them to return to meet all the characters.
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Ian Carabeo of CBS3 contributed to this report.
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