In today’s episode of The Masked Racist, Sesame Place Philadelphia, a theme park based on the show Sesame Street has come under fire after a viral video appears to show one of its employees dressed as a character from the iconic children’s show blowing off two little Black girls and leaving them disappointed.
In the short clip, the employee — who’s dressed as Seasame Street character Rosita — can be seen high-fiving several people before approaching the two little girls, who are seen going from exuding adorable excitement to bitter disappointment in a matter of seconds.
The girls’ mother, who goes by Jodi on Instagram, shared the post saying she and her daughters “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!” she wrote. “Then when I went to complain about it, they looking at me like I’m crazy.”
Jodi said she asked other staff members about the identity of the employee and asked to speak to the manager, but she was told they didn’t know who was in the costume.
Of course, the amusement park and this unidentified employee got dragged up and down social media for their treatment of these two precious children because seriously—how are you going to be a theme park character and ignore kids like they’re paparazzi photographers looking for Beyoncé instead of children looking for a hug.
Speaking of which, singer Kelly Roland weighed in on the video by essentially saying the park would have met its destiny if this happened to her child. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
“Okay so had that been me, that whole parade would have been in flames,” Rowland said in a video posted to her Instagram stories. “Like, are you serious? You’re not going to speak to my child? And did you see that baby’s face at the end? The little one with the pink on? She deserves an explanation.”
And of course, Sesame Place management did offer an explanation—just not one people are likely to buy.
“The costumes our performers wear sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels and sometimes our performers miss hug requests from guests,” the theme park said in a statement posted on its Instagram. “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.” Sesame Place added that “the Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding.”
So, whoever wrote up that statement must think we don’t have eyes and can’t see the character look down directly at the two girls before flashing a “no” gesture. And if what the statement says is true, they might want to think about a wardrobe design change if the costumed employees at a children’s theme park are having problems seeing *checks notes* children. The statement also doesn’t address the mother’s claim that the employee passed up her girls and then hugged a white girl next to them. Sounds like Rosita only had trouble seeing certain children. The park also said it has apologized to the family and invited them back for “a special meet-and-greet opportunity with our characters.”
It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t the first time Sesame Place was involved in an issue dealing with allegations of racism. A few years ago at another Pennsylvania Sesame Place, an angry-for-whatever-reason white woman was filmed using profanity and making obscene gestures in front of children (some of whom can be heard crying) at the park. The Black woman who filmed her said she asked the white woman to stop cursing in front of the kids and the white woman responded by telling her to go back where she came from.
According to the Black woman, not only was the white woman not booted from the park for her behavior but she was also treated as the victim and given free passes to return to the park.
One might get the idea that Sesame Place management is more concerned with excusing racism than properly addressing it.
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