Sesame Place Facing Discrimination Complaints After More Videos of Characters Ignoring Children Surface
After a video clip of two young girls being ignored by a character at Sesame Place went viral, more videos have surfaced along with complaints of discrimination from others who say they've had similar experiences at the family theme park.
Yesterday, we shared the story of one mother who accused the park of being racist after a "Rosita" character seemed to shun her two daughters, who are Black, during a walking parade.
You can catch up on that story here as more videos have surfaced and are quickly going viral.
A mother who goes by @__jodiii__ on Instagram has had her video viewed over half a million times on her page alone in addition to the millions of views on other social media accounts across multiple platforms.
TMZ says that after more videos have popped up on social media, she is now exploring her legal options.
While there has been a majority of support behind her claims of discrimination, new videos have raised eyebrows for even the most skeptical viewers. A video posted by @frobabies shows a character aggressively approaching a young toddler to the point where it actually knocks the child over.
Another video from the same account shows a child being ignored after happily running up to the "Rosita" character. Some commenters demanded to know who was inside the character's suit and if it was, perhaps, the same person from the original video posted by @__jodiii__.
Another video, allegedly from June 24, shows another situation where the "Rosita" character ignored a child of color while hugging a white child nearby.
Sesame Place says these incidents are unintentional and the videos we're seeing are misinterpreted.
Here's another video from the Pennsylvania-based theme park where a mother says "Rosita" ignored her child but is seen bowing and curtsying to the children standing right next to her family.
There were so many similar videos from the Sesame Place characters that some commenters felt like it was hard to deny the patterned behavior they were seeing in every new clip that would surface.
Instagram user @emeryxparker said she originally hesitated to post a video of her kids being ignored, but after seeing the video of the two little girls going viral, she decided to post her experience in an effort to get answers from the Sesame Street theme park.
Sesame Place issued an original apology in response to @__jodiii___ posting her video complaint, but there were many who felt like it came off more like a defensive statement.
After more than five videos began to go viral, the Sesame Street global brand posted the following message to their official @sesamestreet account.
Sesame Workshop acknowledged the original incident and went on to say that what the kids experienced at the Sesame Theme park was "unacceptable." Sesame Street also confirmed that bias training will be implemented to avoid this happening in the future.
Sesame Workshop is aware of the recent incident at Sesame Place Philadelphia, which we take very seriously. What these children experienced is unacceptable.
We have been in contact with Sesame Place, our licensed park partner, and they have assured us that they will conduct bias training and a thorough review of the ways in which they engage with families and guests.
It's well-known that the lifeblood of the Sesame Street brand has always been about inclusion, in an effort to respect and engage with ALL children. They say they expect nothing less from partners like Sesame Place.
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. We hold our partners to the same high standards.
We will continue working with our long-term partner Sesame Place to ensure that appropriate actions are taken and that incidents like this do not happen in the future.
While I've heard and seen a lot of backlash over these videos, there are still many who feel like this is all coincidental and that there is a good chance that other kids were passed over or disrespected who aren't minorities.
That is definitely a possibility, but does it make some of this behavior any more acceptable? Give me your thoughts on this subject that a lot of people are definitely talking about right now.
Personally, seeing any child saddened by being ignored breaks my heart, but to think that a person inside of a costume would pass over a child due to the color of their skin is upsetting to say the very least.
@__jodiii___ says the part that she called insult added to injury was the "apology" from Sesame Place that took zero accountability. They have since released a new apology on their Instagram that you can read below.
Let's hope that's not the case. And if it is, let's hope that Sesame Place can make the correct changes.