Sesame Place Will Undergo ‘Bias Training’ in Wake of Alleged Racist Interaction Between Theme Park Character and Guests
In the wake of accused racism and online backlash following a viral video of Sesame Street character Rosita seemingly ignoring Black children during a parade, Sesame Place Philadelphia will be undergoing "bias training."
In a statement, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that runs the Sesame Place theme park, announced the park will be undergoing a "thorough review of the ways in which they engage [with] 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 the highest quality engaging experiences for all children and families," they continued.
The viral video of a young Black girl, who was celebrating her birthday in the park, being ignored by the Rosita was originally posted by Instagram user @__jodiii__ before it made its way to Twitter, where it has amassed over 9 million views and thousands of responses expressing outrage.
In a statement shared on Instagram, Sesame Place claimed the "Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding."
They also claimed the performer was allegedly waving no to other guests who had asked for Rosita to hold their child for a photo, which is not permitted.
"I whole-heartedly feel as though that statement was released to save face," the birthday girl's mother wrote in an Instagram Story in response to the theme park's statement.
In another statement on July 18, Sesame Place wrote, "We know that it's not [okay]. We are taking actions to do better. We are committed to making this right."
Meanwhile, several other videos have since surfaced allegedly showing characters in the park ignoring Black children while acknowledging other kids. Now, it seems the original video was just the tip of the iceberg.
"While we hate to speculate and consider 'race' as the motivating factor, which would explain the performer's actions, such actions both before and after the young girls reached out only leads us to one conclusion," B'Ivory LaMarr, the lawyer representing the family from the viral video, said in a statement to ABC News.
"I also think that a lot of parents, as you can see in the other videos that are now released, have went through a similar thing and just didn't speak up about it right away. So now they have the courage to say, 'Hey, this also happened to my child' ... These are innocent children," Jodi Brown, the girl's mother, added.