LANGHORNE, Pa. (CBS) — Sesame Place is facing a $25 million class action lawsuit over how its costume characters allegedly treat young, Black children. A law firm filed the lawsuit on behalf of a Baltimore family.
They also released a new video of characters allegedly snubbing other Black children at the Bucks County amusement park.
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The video follows the now-viral video posted nearly two weeks ago by a New York family who says a Sesame Place character ignored two little girls.
“We stand here before you today simply trying to fight and protect little Black children and their fundamental civil rights,” attorney Malcolm Ruff said.
Attorneys for the Burns family out of Baltimore filed a class action lawsuit alleging pervasive and appalling race discrimination against Sesame Place and its parent company Sea World after a video shows what they say are several costume characters snubbing a 5-year-old Black girl for other white children.
“She was ignored amongst a sea of other young white children who were able to interact, give hugs, high fives,” Ruff said.
Those attorneys say Quinton Burns contacted their firm after seeing the now-viral video where a New York mother alleges her Black daughter and niece were passed over in favor of white children in the crowd during a parade.
Attorneys say the Burns were discriminated against back on Father’s Day, June 18, when they visited the park in Bucks County and participated in a meet-and-greet with the characters.
Attorneys claim four characters at Sesame Place intentionally refused to interact with Kennedi and other Black guests at the park. They say there are videos to prove it.
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“Just looking at her face, it makes me want to cry every time I see it,” Burns said.
“Kennedi was forced to experience racism at the age of 5. This is unacceptable and we will not stand by and let this continue,” Ruff said.
Lawyers are seeking compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $25 million and are asking other families who may have also experienced bias to come forward.
“We want to punish Sea World because they know what happened was wrong and we’re sure that we are going to find that this was indeed a pattern that they were aware of, they just didn’t care,” attorney Mart Harris said.
Lawyers representing the New York family emphasize they are not part of this lawsuit.
Sesame Place said it’s taking action to review its practices to identify necessary changes.
Sesame Place responded to the lawsuit in a statement sent to Eyewitness News, saying: “We will review the lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Burns. We look forward to addressing that claim through the established legal process. We are committed to deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience for all our guests.”
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CBS3’s Ross DiMattei, Ryan Hughes and Alicia Roberts contributed to this report.