Following continued backlash after the initial statement, the family-run establishment now says it knows what happened is not okay and is committed to making things right.
In a statement released Monday night, the theme park said it will provide employee training to “better understand, recognize and provide our guests with an inclusive, fair and entertaining experience.”
The statement was made in response to a video the mother posted online showing her two black daughters reaching out to Sesame Street character “Rosita” during a park parade in Langhorne, Bucks County, on Saturday.
The video shows the character giving high-fives to other parade attendees as she approaches two children.
Jodi Brown and her lawyer told CNN Tuesday that Sesame Place character Rosita was deliberately racist towards her family.
The mother claims that the character said “no” and ignored her daughter and niece while interacting with other children.
“Immediately after the character walked past them, there was another little girl of a different race next to them and [Rosita] hugged her,” Brown said.
She said that the character hugged another child with both arms. “At that time, I had already stopped making videos… I was upset, so I stopped the video because I thought, ‘What just happened?
“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, is actually disgusting and unbelievable,” Brown added.
In its original statement on Sunday, Sesame Place specifically said, “The performer portraying the Rosita character has confirmed that the ‘no’ hand gesture seen several times in the video was not directed at any specific person… rather, it is was the answer. to numerous requests from someone in the crowd who asked Rosita to hold their child for a photo, which is prohibited.
Sesame Place said, “The costumes the performers wear sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels, and sometimes our performers miss hug requests from guests.”
Sesame Place’s initial statement said the performer “didn’t intentionally ignore the girls” and was “devastated by the misunderstanding.”
“We apologize to these guests for not delivering the experience they expected, and we are committed to doing everything we can to earn the visit and support of them and all guests,” the initial statement said.
But amid the aftermath, several new videos have surfaced that appear to show similar incidents.
The park has not responded to these videos, but says it contacted the family in the video last weekend and invited them to a special meeting with the park’s characters.
On Monday evening, Sesame Place released a follow-up to the original statement:
“We sincerely apologize to the family for what they experienced in our park on Saturday; we know it’s not normal. We are taking action to get better. We strive to make things right. We will provide training for our employees to better understand, recognize and provide our guests with a comprehensive, fair and entertaining experience.
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.”
B’Ivory Lamarr, representing the family, said the park’s response was not enough.
Lamarr emphasized that he is still investigating what happened and considering all available options.
Brown and Lamar plan to hold a press conference on Wednesday with more details.
“At this point, we are calling for a sincere, authentic apology, acknowledging the harm caused by outrageous acts, and doing the right thing by making amends for the damage caused to these two young girls,” Lamarr. said.
Sesame Workshop, the organization behind Sesame Street, released its own statement:
“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 contacted Sesame Place, our licensed park partner, and they assured us that they would provide bias training and carefully review how we interacted with families and guests.
As a global non-profit educational organization whose mission is to help children become smarter, stronger and kinder, Sesame Workshop has always stood for respect, inclusion and belonging and is committed to providing high quality fun activities 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 ensure similar incidents do not occur in the future.”
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