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Family of Girls Seemingly Snubbed at Sesame Place Hires Lawyer, Considers Lawsuit

A video of the show's Rosita character gesturing 'no' at two young black girls went viral


A Pennsylvania Sesame Street-themed amusement park may be sued for an allegedly racist interaction between a character and two young girls.

A video went viral on July 19 of two young black girls attempting to reach a performer dressed as Rosita, the children’s television show’s first bilingual character. As the character nears the children, she shakes her head “no” and continues in the park’s parade.

The girls’ mother posted the interaction on Instagram where it has been viewed more than 550,00 times. 

We were on our way out of sesame place and the kids wanted to stop to see the characters. THIS DISGUSTING person blatantly told our kids NO then proceeded to hug the little white girl next to us!” she wrote. “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 !!”

Sesame Place released a statement noting that the performer wearing the Rosita costume gestured “no” several times in the video, not at the children, but rather in response to “multiple requests from someone in the crowd who asked Rosita to hold their child for a photo which is not permitted.”

The park said the performer is “devastated about this misunderstanding” and that the company had been in contact with the girls’ family to apologize and has “invited them back for a special meet-and-greet opportunity with our characters.”

“Our brand, our park, and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms,” Sesame Place said. “That is what Sesame Place is all about and we do not tolerate any behaviors in our parks that are contrary to that commitment.”

The video was widely denounced online with former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland and Tamika Mallory, one the of organizers of the 2017 Women’s March, weighing in on the incident.

“What happened to the two little girls is bad enough,” Mallory told TMZ on July 19. “The statement Sesame Place released really adds insult to injury.”

She said Jodi, the girls’ mother, felt the Philadelphia amusement park did not take accountability.

“We decided immediately to put out a warning to other black families because the way that our children are treated in a country that we already know is dealing with extreme racial issues is very important to us.”

The family’s attorney, B’Ivory LaMarr, told TMZ that they are investigating the incident. He alleges that other videos of the Rosita character refusing to interact with children of color have surfaced online. LaMarr told the outlet the family is considering taking legal action against the park.

“While we hate to rush to judgment to consider ‘race’ as the motivating factor to explain the performer’s actions, such actions both before and after the young girl’s request only lead to one conclusion,” the attorney said.

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