After the constant backlash that followed an initial statement, the family’s place now says he knows what happened isn’t good and is committed to making things right.
In a statement Monday night, the park said it will conduct training for staff “so that they better understand, identify and provide an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience for our guests.”
The statement came in response to a video posted online by a mother showing her two black daughters extending their hands to Sesame Street character “Rosetta” during a garden show in Langhorne, Bucks County, on Saturday.
The video shows the character presenting the fives to other Parade-goers as she approaches the two children.
Jodi Brown and her attorney told CNN on Tuesday that Sesame Place’s character, Rosita, was intentionally racist toward her family.
The mother claims that the character said “no” and ignored her daughter and niece while interacting with the other children.
“Immediately after the character passed them, there was another little girl beside them who was of a different gender and [Rosita] I hugged her,” Brown said.
She said the character hugged the other child with two arms. “Back then, 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 actually happened, and the fact that this will be a key memory for them when it comes to Sesame Place is disgusting and unbelievable,” Brown added.
In its original statement on Sunday, Sesame Place said in part: “The actor portraying Rosita’s character confirmed that the ‘no’ hand gesture seen multiple times in the video was not directed at any specific person… Rather, it was a response. to multiple requests from a person. In the crowd Rosetta was asked to hold her child for an unauthorized photo op.
Sesame Place said, “The costumes worn by the performers sometimes make it difficult to see in the lower levels and sometimes the performers miss hug requests from the guests.”
In the initial statement, Sesame Place said the performer “did not intentionally ignore the girls” and was “disturbed by the misunderstanding”.
“We apologize to these guests for not delivering the experience they expected and are committed to doing everything we can to win the visit and support of all guests,” the initial statement read.
But amid the fallout, several new videos have surfaced that appear to show similar incidents.
The park has not responded to these videos but says it reached out to the family from last weekend’s video and invited them to a special opportunity to meet and greet with the park characters.
On Monday evening, Sesame Center issued a follow-up to the initial statement:
“We sincerely apologize to the family for their experience in our garden on Saturday; we know it’s not okay. We are taking action to do better. We are committed to making this right. We will conduct training for our staff so that they better understand, appreciate and provide a comprehensive, equitable and entertaining experience for our guests.”
For over 40 years, Sesame Place has upheld the values of respect, inclusion and belonging. We are committed to doing a better job making children and families feel special, seen and joined when they come to our gardens.”
B’Ivory LaMarr, who represents the family, said the park’s response was inadequate.
Lamar confirmed that he is still investigating what happened and is looking at all available options.
Brown and Lamar plan to hold a press conference on Wednesday with more details.
“At this point, we are calling for a real and genuine apology, acknowledging the harm done in the atrocity of the deeds and doing the right thing, to make up for the damage done to these two young girls,” Lamar said.
Sesame Workshop, the organization behind Sesame Street, released 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 suffered is unacceptable.
We have been in contact with Sesame Place, our licensed partner in the park, and they have assured us that they will conduct bias training and a thorough review of the ways they treat families and guests.
As a global, non-profit educational organization dedicated to helping children become smarter, stronger, and kinder, Sesame Workshop has always championed respect, inclusion and belonging and is committed to providing high-quality interactive experiences for all children and families. We hold our partners to the same high standards. We will continue to work with our long-term partner Sesame Place to ensure that appropriate measures are taken and that such incidents do not occur in the future.”
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All rights reserved.