Sesame Place apologizes after viral video of mascot refusing to high-five 2 young black girls – CBS Philly

LANGHORNE, Pa. (CBS) — On Wednesday morning, we hear of a mother who posted a viral video that appears to show a Sesame Place character snubbing two young black girls. The video has over 500,000 views.

And the mom who took him is speaking out now.

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She said she couldn’t believe what happened recently at Sesame Place. The video appears to show an employee dressed as the character – and refusing to clap hands with two young black children.

“The fact that this even happened, the fact that this is going to be a key memory for them when it comes to Sesame Place, is actually disgusting and unbelievable to me,” Jodi Brown said.

Brown says her daughter and niece were sad after what happened at Sesame Place, so she posted this video to Instagram on Saturday.

Brown said Rosita’s character walked on a parade route, gave a high-five and hugged other children, but intentionally ignored her daughter and niece. She thinks it was because of the color of their skin.

Sesame Place officials, however, say it was a misunderstanding.

Brown just wants Sesame to take responsibility for what happened.

“When I first posted the picture the next day, they messaged me to call to speak to a manager, she was supposed to call me back, and I haven’t received a phone call since any the situation has gone viral,” Brown said.

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Sesame Place claims it was all a misunderstanding and the performer inside Rosita’s costume is devastated by the controversy.

Sesame Place officials say the motion Rosita can be seen making is that she is actually turning down another mother, who wanted her baby picked up, which is not allowed.

Sesame Place acknowledged on Tuesday that it was aware of the incident, saying in a statement that it was “taking steps to do better.”

“We sincerely apologize to the family for their experience at our park on Saturday; we know that’s not OK. We are taking steps to do better. We are committed to making sure this is right,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We will organize training for our employees so that they understand, recognize and provide an inclusive, fair and entertaining experience for our customers. For over 40 years, Sesame Place has worked to uphold the values ​​of respect, inclusion and belonging. We are committed to doing a better job of making children and families feel special, seen and included when they come to our parks.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street and a licensing partner of Sesame Place, called what happened “unacceptable” and called on Sesame Place workers to undergo bias training.

“Sesame Workshop is aware of the recent incident at Sesame Place Philadelphia, which we take very seriously. What these children have experienced is unacceptable. We have been in contact with Sesame Place, our licensed park partner, and they assured that they would conduct bias training and a thorough review of how they interact with families and guests,” Sesame Workshop wrote in a tweet. “As a global non-profit educational organization whose the 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 the highest quality, engaging experiences for all children and families. We hold our partners to the same high standards. We will continue to work with our long-time partner Sesame Place to ensure appropriate action is taken and incidents like this do not happen again in the future.

Sesame Place also said the organization apologized to the families and invited them to meet all the characters.

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CBS3’s Jan Carabeo contributed to this report.

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