A Sesame Street-themed amusement park has apologized and promised more training for its employees after a video showing a costumed character waving off two 6-year-old Black girls during a parade went viral online.
The nine-second video, posted to Instagram on Saturday by Jodi Brown, the mother of one of the girls, showed the character Rosita high-fiving a white child and woman, then gesturing “no” and walking away from the two girls who had their arms stretched out for a hug and high-five during the parade at Sesame Place in Langhorne, outside Philadelphia.
“I will never step foot in @sesameplace ever again,” Brown said online.
The family’s lawyer, B’Ivory LaMarr, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the family is appalled and disturbed by the incident and “the injuries propagated to their children.”
In an initial statement Sunday, Sesame Place said the park and its employees stand for “inclusivity and equality in all forms.” The statement also noted that performers sometimes miss requests for hugs because the costumes they wear make it difficult to see at lower levels.
“The Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated by the misunderstanding,” the statement said.
However, many people expressed outrage online and some called for a boycott of the amusement park.
The park issued a second statement Monday, apologizing again and promising that it was “taking action to do better.” Among those efforts would be inclusivity training for employees.
Sesame Place has been the official “Sesame Street” theme park for more than four decades. It opened in 1980.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.