Sesame Place accused of racism, facing backlash over viral video

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Sesame Place Philadelphia is facing backlash after a mother posted a video online showing a character appearing to snub her two black daughters.

The now-viral video — shared by the outraged mother on Instagram — shows her young daughters being ignored by the Rosita character from “Sesame Street” after they reached out their arms for a high-five.

The original clip has been viewed almost 388,000 times and another re-post on social media has over 5.5 million views, which even caught the attention of Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland.

The footage shows the Muppet appearing to high-five and hug the other kids around them, but skipping the young black children.

“I’m going to keep posting this, because this had me hot,” the girl’s mother, posting under the Instagram handle @__jodiii__, wrote Saturday.

The Post has reached out to Sesame Place Philadelphia for comment.

“We were on our way out of sesame place and the kids wanted to stop to see the characters,” she explained in the post.

The moment the character appears to ignore the girls was captured in the video. Instagram/@__jodiii_

“THIS DISGUSTING person blatantly told our kids NO then proceeded to hug the little white girl next to us!” she continued.

“Then when I went to complain about it, they looking at me like I’m crazy. I asked the lady who the character was and I wanted to see a supervisor and she told me SHE DIDNT KNOW!”

The clip immediately sparked outrage online, with users furious over the interaction, accusing the Sesame Place employee wearing the Rosita costume of racism.

“Okay so had that been me, that whole parade would have been in flames,” Rowland said in disbelief via her Instagram stories.

“Like, are you serious? You’re not going to speak to my child? And did you see that baby’s face at the end? The little one with the pink on? She deserves an explanation.”

Sesame Place Philadelphia posted a statement to social media Sunday, saying the incident was not racially motivated.

The theme park released a statement online.
The theme park released a statement online.

“Our brand, our park and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms. That is what Sesame Place is all about and we do no tolerate any behaviors in our parks that are contrary to that commitment,” the statement reads.

“The performer portraying the Rosita character has confirmed that the ‘no’ hand gesture seen several times in the video was not directed to any specific person, rather it was a response to multiple requests from someone in the crowd who asked Rosita to hold their child for a photo which is not permitted,” the theme park said.

“The Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding.” 

The park’s statement also said it has reached out to the family and apologized, as well as invited them for a special meet-and-greet opportunity with the park characters. 

Posting to her Instagram story, the day after posting the video, Jodi said Sesame Place has made no effort to contact her and apologize to her daughters.

Jodi posted to her Instagram story claiming the park hasn't contacted her since the initial interaction.
Jodi posted to her Instagram story claiming the park hasn’t contacted her since the initial interaction.

“I wholeheartedly feel as though that statement was released to save face,” she wrote, acknowledging a manager reached out to her but no further communication has been attempted since the video went viral.

“The statement was disrespectful and distasteful,” the mom said, pledging to repost it daily until the situation has been rectified.

Jodi said she’s hurt by the incident but is trying to handle it as calmly as possible.

“The character could’ve just waved to everyone or just kept walking but to blatantly look at my kids and say no, I’m not [accepting] that,” she continued. “Don’t try tell me he can’t see lower levels, he look one look at them and said no.”


Published by Queenie's Blog

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