Sesame Place, a children’s theme park and water park located on the outskirts of Philadelphia, has come under fire after accusations that several of the furry, fuzzy characters ignored the pleas of black kids for a hug.
#BabyPaige & her cute lil friends went to @SesamePlace this weekend to celebrate Paige’s 4th birthday & this is how #SesamePlace treated these beautiful Black children. I’m HOT. pic.twitter.com/wATjpRzUF1
— Leslie Mac (@LeslieMac) July 17, 2022
The theme park issued an apology on Instagram, saying, “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.”
Are you surprised that no one believed the park’s explanation?
After the outcry following the first explanation, the park issued another statement promising they would conduct training for employees to deliver a more “inclusive, equitable, and entertaining experience” to guests.
Now there are apparently dozens of families who have stepped forward claiming someone dressed up in a fuzzy costume refused to hug their child or gave offense that they construe as racism in some other way. The family of the two little girls in the video above have retained the services of a lawyer, so how far behind is the multi-million-dollar lawsuit?
Especially since another video surfaced showing no one near the black kids and the character in the fuzzy costume embracing a white girl.
The new video was shared by Lamarr on Friday and appears to show no one near the children, then Rosita immediately greets a white child. The new video was shared less than 24-hours after the park issued a third apology in which the park called the incident “unacceptable” and said they “sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize.“
Protesters plan to gather outside the amusement park on Saturday, while visitors on Friday said the viral incident left them feeling uneasy.
“My kid is going to enjoy whether these people don’t want to interact with them,” Shirley Bond said. “It’s bothersome, but I’m still going to come.”
Don’t you think this is getting a little out of hand?
Congressional Black Caucus requests meeting with president of Sesame Place amid controversy pic.twitter.com/UF8FyiXU9m
— The Hill (@thehill) July 23, 2022
Sesame Place has been open for 42 years. Does anyone else find it a little curious that there haven’t been any other incidents of racial discrimination as described by the family and attorney? The person playing Rosita may be a closet kluxer, but why haven’t there been numerous complaints against the character previously?
And why all the complaints now after the parents retained the services of a lawyer?
The little girls were understandably disappointed. But there are a dozen reasons besides racism as to why the Rosita character didn’t stop to hug the children. Using racism to allege wrongdoing is exactly the reason the term “racism” has lost all meaning, as well as all the power it once had to shame, to humiliate those accused of it.
Using two little girls as props in this racial morality show is despicable.