LANGHORNE, Pa. (CBS) — On Wednesday morning, we’re hearing from a mother who posted a viral video that appears to show a character at Sesame Place snubbing two young Black girls. The video has well over 500,000 views.
And the mom who took it is now speaking out.
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She said she couldn’t believe what happened at Sesame Place recently. The video appears to show an employee dressed up in character — and refusing to high-five two young Black children.
“The fact that this even happened, the fact that this is going to be a core memory for them when it comes to Sesame Place, it’s 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 on Instagram on Saturday.
Brown said the character Rosita was walking a parade route, high-fiving and hugging other children, but intentionally ignored her daughter and her niece. She believes it was because of the color of their skin.
Sesame Place officials though are claiming it was a misunderstanding.
Brown just wants Sesame to take accountability for what happened.
“When I first posted the picture the following day, they sent me a message to call to speak to a manager, she was supposed to call me back, and I haven’t received a phone call back since the whole situation went viral,” Brown said.
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Sesame Place is claiming this was all a misunderstanding, and that the performer inside the Rosita costume is devastated by the controversy.
Officials from Sesame Place say the motion Rosita can be seen making is her actually turning down another mom, who wanted her infant picked up, which is not permitted.
Sesame Place acknowledged Tuesday it’s aware of the incident, saying in a statement it’s “taking actions to do better.”
“We sincerely apologize to the family for their experience in our park on Saturday; we know that it’s not OK. We are taking actions to do better. We are committed to making this right,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We will conduct training for our employees so they better understand, recognize and deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience to our guests. 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 making children and families feel special, seen and included when they come to our parks.”
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street and licensed partner of Sesame Place, called what happened “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 experienced is unacceptable. We have been in contact with Sesame Place, our licensed park partner, and they have assured us that they will conduct bias training and a thorough review of the ways in which they engage with families and guests,” Sesame Workshop wrote in a tweet. “As a global nonprofit education organization with a mission to help children grow 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 working with our long-term partner Sesame Place to ensure that appropriate actions are taken and that incidents like this do not happen in the future.”
Sesame Place also said the organization has apologized to the families and invited them back to meet all of the characters.
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CBS3’s Jan Carabeo contributed to this report.