Sesame Street performer accused of racism after incident at theme park

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By Carina Murphy

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A mother has slammed a performer at Sesame Place, Philadelphia, claiming they refused to hug her two Black daughters.

In a now-viral video, the young girls can be seen excitedly reaching out to the character Rosita for a hug. Despite appearing to interact with other kids before them, the performer makes it very clear they will not come over to the two Black girls, shaking their head 'no' in their direction.

To make matters worse, the girls' mom - who goes by @__jodiii__ on Instagram - claims in the caption that the character went on to hug a white child next to them as soon as she stopped recording.

"We were on our way out of sesame place and the kids wanted to stop to see the characters," the outraged mom wrote in the lengthy Instagram caption.

"THIS DISGUSTING person blatantly told our kids NO then proceeded to hug the little white girl next to us!"

She went on to say that staff looked at her like she was "crazy" when she went to complain, adding: "I will never step foot in @sesameplace ever again!"

The video clip sparked furious backlash online and prompted Sesame Place Philadelphia to respond in a statement, which they released via Instagram on Sunday.

"Our brand, our park, and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms," the statement read. It went on to explain that the employee had not knowingly declined to interact with the two girls.

"The costumes our performers wear sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels and sometimes our performers miss hug requests from guests," the park claimed, before alleging that the "no" hand gesture was not directed toward "any specific person".

"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," they wrote, adding: "The Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding." the statement said.

However, the mother was unimpressed by the park's response. Per NBC News, she reacted to the statement in an Instagram story where she called the apology "disrespectful and distasteful."

"I wholeheartedly feel as though that statement was released to save face," she wrote.

wp-image-1263162049 size-full
Credit: VIAVAL / Alamy

Meanwhile, TMZ reports that the family has hired an attorney -  B'Ivory LaMarr - to represent them and potentially sue the theme 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," LaMarr told the outlet.

Featured Image Credit: Helen / Alamy

Sesame Street performer accused of racism after incident at theme park

vt-author-image

By Carina Murphy

Article saved!Article saved!

A mother has slammed a performer at Sesame Place, Philadelphia, claiming they refused to hug her two Black daughters.

In a now-viral video, the young girls can be seen excitedly reaching out to the character Rosita for a hug. Despite appearing to interact with other kids before them, the performer makes it very clear they will not come over to the two Black girls, shaking their head 'no' in their direction.

To make matters worse, the girls' mom - who goes by @__jodiii__ on Instagram - claims in the caption that the character went on to hug a white child next to them as soon as she stopped recording.

"We were on our way out of sesame place and the kids wanted to stop to see the characters," the outraged mom wrote in the lengthy Instagram caption.

"THIS DISGUSTING person blatantly told our kids NO then proceeded to hug the little white girl next to us!"

She went on to say that staff looked at her like she was "crazy" when she went to complain, adding: "I will never step foot in @sesameplace ever again!"

The video clip sparked furious backlash online and prompted Sesame Place Philadelphia to respond in a statement, which they released via Instagram on Sunday.

"Our brand, our park, and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms," the statement read. It went on to explain that the employee had not knowingly declined to interact with the two girls.

"The costumes our performers wear sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels and sometimes our performers miss hug requests from guests," the park claimed, before alleging that the "no" hand gesture was not directed toward "any specific person".

"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," they wrote, adding: "The Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding." the statement said.

However, the mother was unimpressed by the park's response. Per NBC News, she reacted to the statement in an Instagram story where she called the apology "disrespectful and distasteful."

"I wholeheartedly feel as though that statement was released to save face," she wrote.

wp-image-1263162049 size-full
Credit: VIAVAL / Alamy

Meanwhile, TMZ reports that the family has hired an attorney -  B'Ivory LaMarr - to represent them and potentially sue the theme 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," LaMarr told the outlet.

Featured Image Credit: Helen / Alamy