Activists aren’t buying Sesame Place’s claims after Black girls refused

Activists aren’t buying Sesame Place’s claims after Black girls refused

July 18, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack

The explanation the theme park offered via a post on Instagram Sunday was that it stands for “inclusivity and equality” and doesn’t tolerate behavior contrary to that commitment. “Regarding the incident yesterday, the costumes our performers wear sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels and sometimes our performers miss hug requests from guests,” the business said in its statement. “The performer portraying the Rosita character has confirmed that the ‘no’ hand gesture seen several times in the video was not directed to any specific person, rather 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.

“The Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding.” The company claimed to have spoken to the family of the girls to apologize and invite them back for a meet-and-greet with the characters. “We apologize to these guests for not delivering the experience they expected and we commit to do our best to earn their and all guests’ visit and support.”

Video of the encounter went viral after a user reported to be the girls’ mother posted it on Instagram Sunday with this caption:

“I’m going to keep posting this, because this had me hot. We were on our way out of sesame place and the kids wanted to stop to see the characters. THIS DISGUSTING person blatantly told our kids NO then proceeded to hug the little white girl next to us! Then when I went to complain about it, they looking at me like I’m crazy. I asked the lady who the character was and I wanted to see a supervisor and she told me SHE DIDNT KNOW !! I will never step foot in @sesameplace ever again ! And please feel free to repost this. Actually run me my money back 😡🤬so mad I stopped the video but it got me so mad when he blatantly told them no”

Even after the theme park released its statement, activists took to social media to defend the girls. 

“Our children were mistreated,” Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown tweeted. “@SesamePlace released a terrible statement that takes no responsibility and minimizes the offense we all saw with your own eyes. This is why we created @blackgirlsdream. We must create affirming spaces for our children.”

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump called the encounter “absolutely heartbreaking” in a post Sunday on Twitter. And Leslie Mac, an activist and community organizer, tweeted on Monday: “THEY HAVE NOT INVITED THE KIDS BACK FOR ANYTHING. This statement is the first & only time the family heard about this offer & Sesame Place has cut off email communications. The entire statement is a lie.”