Sesame Place Philadelphia apologizes after mom posts video of daughters’ experience wearing “Rosita” at the parade


Sesame Place Philadelphia apologizes after mom posts video of daughters' experience wearing "Rosita" at the parade

LANGHORNE, Pa. (WPVI) — Sesame Place apologizes for a family’s experience at the park last weekend, which was captured in video that has now gone viral.

Following continued backlash after an initial statement, the family site now says it knows what happened is not okay and is committed to making things right.

In a statement Monday night, the theme park said it will be conducting training for staff to “better understand, recognize and provide an inclusive, equitable and fun experience for our guests.”

The statement was in response to a video a mother posted online showing her two black daughters reaching out to Sesame Street character “Rosita” during a parade at the park in Langhorne, Bucks County, on Saturday.

The video shows the character giving high fives to other parade goers as she approaches the two children.

Jodi Brown and her attorney told CNN Tuesday that Sesame Square character Rosita was intentionally racist toward her family.

The mother claims the character said “no” and ignored her daughter and niece while interacting with other children.

“Right after the character passed them, there was another little girl next to them who was of a different race and [Rosita] hugged her,” Brown said.

She said the character hugs the other child with two arms. “By that point, I had already stopped recording the video. …I was upset, so I stopped the video because I was like, ‘What just happened?’”

“The fact that this happened at all, the fact that this is going to be a core memory for her when it comes to Sesame Place is actually disgusting and unbelievable,” Brown added.

In its original statement on Sunday, Sesame Place said in part, “The performer portraying the Rosita character has confirmed that the ‘no’ hand gesture seen multiple times in the video was not directed at any specific person… but was a response to multiple requests from someone in the crowd asking Rosita to hold her child for a picture, which is not allowed.”

Sesame Place said, “The costumes that the cast members wear sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels, and sometimes our cast members miss hug requests from guests.”

In the first statement, Sesame Place said the performer “didn’t intentionally ignore the girls” and was “devastated by the misunderstanding.”

“We apologize to these guests for not having the expected experience, and we are committed to doing our best to deserve their and all guests’ visit and support,” the first statement read.

But amid the episodes, several new videos have surfaced that appear to show similar incidents.

The park has not responded to those videos, but says it reached out to the family in last weekend’s video and invited them to a special meet-and-greet opportunity with the park characters.

On Monday night, Sesame Place released a follow-up to the original statement:

“We sincerely apologize to the family for their experience at our park on Saturday; we know it’s not okay. We take action to make it better. We are committed to doing this right, recognizing and providing an inclusive, equitable and fun experience for 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 of making children and families feel special, seen and included when they come to our parks.”

B’Ivory LaMarr, who represents the family, said the park’s response was not enough.

LaMarr said he’s still investigating what happened and reviewing all available options.

Brown and LaMaar plan a press conference Wednesday with more details.

“It is at this point that we demand a real, authentic apology that recognizes the damage caused by the outrageousness of the actions and to do the right thing to undo the damage done to these two young girls,” he said LaMarr said.

Sesame Workshop, the organization behind Sesame Street, issued a statement of its own:

“Sesame Workshop is aware of the recent incident at Sesame Place Philadelphia, which we take very seriously. What these children have experienced is unacceptable.

We have contacted Sesame Place, our licensed park partner, and they have assured us that they will be conducting bias training and a thorough review of the way they treat families and guests.

As a global nonprofit educational 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 engaging experiences of the highest quality for all children and families. We hold the same high standards to our partners. We will continue to work with our long-term partner Sesame Place to ensure appropriate action is taken and incidents like this do not happen again.”

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