Sesame Street was forced to respond to racism accusations over the weekend after a character in one of their Sesame Place theme parks seemingly “ignored” two young fans, Radar has confirmed.
The startling incident took place on Sunday at Sesame Place Philadelphia, and the video – captured by the two young fans’ mother and uploaded to social media – showed the Sesame Street character Rosita waving the two young girls off despite hugging and high-fiving other children mere moments before.
“I’m going to keep posting this, because this had me hot,” the two girls’ mother, named only as Jodi on Instagram, wrote alongside a video of the encounter. “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,” the mother fumed. “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 [Sesame Place] ever again! And please feel free to repost this.”
“Actually run me my money back,” she added. “So mad I stopped the video but it got me so mad when he blatantly told them no.”
Within hours of the incident going viral online, celebrities and Sesame Street fans alike slammed the theme park. The backlash was so substantial and severe that Sesame Place Philadelphia was forced to respond to the allegations and insist the incident was “not racially motivated.”
“Our brand, our park and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms,” the theme park said in a statement released Monday morning. “That is what Sesame Place is all about and we do not tolerate any behaviors in our parks that are contrary to that commitment.”
“We also are, and have always been, committed to making sure every family and every child has the best possible experience at our parks and we are incredibly disappointed when that does not happen,” the park continued.
“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.”
Sesame Place Philadelphia further explained that the employee operating the Rosita costume did not wave off or ignore the two young girls, but was actually responding to a parent in the crowd asking the character to hold their child for a photo – something that is against the park’s rules.
The park also revealed they reached out to the two girls and their family to invite them back to Sesame Place “for a special meet-and-greet opportunity," although it is not known if the family took the theme park up on their offer.
“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.”