The attorney for a New York mother claiming her daughter and niece were intentionally ignored by a Sesame Place character because they’re Black has released a video they say contradicts the Middletown theme park’s version of what occurred.
In the 31-second video of the July 16 parade, attorney B’Ivory LaMarr, who represents Brooklyn resident Jodi Brown, contends no one appears to be standing behind the two 6-year-old girls when an employee in a “Rosita” costume gestures “no” to the girls, who were seeking hugs, after high-fiving white guests.
Sesame Place has claimed that the performer was gesturing toward another park guest not visible in the video, who wanted “Rosita” to hold their child for a photo, which is not permitted. The park also stated the character costumes that performers wear can sometimes make it difficult to see guests at lower levels.
Brooklyn mom says “Rosita” ignored girlsSesame Place blames Rosita costume issues for snub that mom calls racist in viral video
Sesame Place Philadelphia, which is owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, has denied allegations that the girls were intentionally overlooked by the performer because of their race.
The company has apologized repeatedly to Brown, calling the incident “unacceptable.” The park announced Thursday that it is reviewing its practices to identify immediate and long-term changes, has hired a “nationally recognized” expert to assist them and has implemented new mandatory bias training for employees.
A Sesame Place spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an email Friday seeking comment on the new footage or if the “Rosita” performer had been disciplined. In its initial statement, the park said the employee was “devastated” to learn of the misunderstanding.
Brown contends that the performer intentionally rejected hug requests from her daughter and niece, and instead high-fived adults and children of different races on either side of them.
Her original 9-second cellphone video of the encounter posted on social media on Sunday has ignited a firestorm of criticism of the popular children’s theme park, its handling of the Brown’s claims and allegations of insensitive behavior by employees toward Black guests.
LaMarr contends the new, longer video, which appears to have been shot from a wider angle and the other side of the parade route, supports his client’s version of what happened. The footage was filmed and provided by another guest at the same parade, LaMarr said.
The last seconds of the new video appear to show no one is standing behind or between a white woman in a purple shirt and Brown’s daughter and niece in the parade line.
LaMarr added that the video clip also confirms Brown’s claims that after rejecting her daughter and niece, the employee in the Rosita costume interacted with another child of a different race, which is what Brown claims happened after her video cut off.
Brown and others are calling for the immediate identification and termination of the performer.
LaMarr has claimed that “multiple families” with similar negative experiences with character performers have reached out to his law office since Brown posted her video on Twitter and Instagram.
York Pa. dad says Elmo snubbed his childYork father joins chorus of parents who say Sesame Place characters snub Black children
A south central Pennsylvania man, who is Black, has posted a video of what he says shows an employee wearing an “Elmo” costume ignoring his 5-year-old daughter’s high-five request during a July 4 visit to the theme park.
The Instagram video has more than 30,000 views as of Friday morning.
In its most recent public statement, Sesame Place said that it has been in contact with Brown and her attorney and has extended an offer to meet in-person with Brown and LaMarr to deliver a personal apology and an “acknowledgement that we are holding ourselves accountable for what happened.”
“We want to listen to them to understand how the experience impacted their family and to understand what we can do better for them and all guests who visit our parks,” the park said.
More Fall out from Sesame snub incidentMore videos emerge showing apparent racial snubs of children at Sesame Place