Sesame Place apologises after employee ignores Black girls during parade

Sesame Place Philadelphia, the Sesame Street theme park, issued an apology after an employee dressed as a character refused to high-five two Black children.

A video of two little girls being passed over by an employee dressed as a Sesame character has gone viral and now, Sesame Place has apologised for the incident, ensuring that their employees will receive bias training.

The video shows the two girls, repping Sesame backpacks, waiting alongside the parade while a person in a Sesame Street costume walks by. 

sesame street theme park
Credit: AP

Before the employee reached the girls, they gave out high-fives to another small child and an adult, both of who appeared white. The character then blatantly signalled ‘no’ to the girls and their disappointment is palpable.

The adult who was with the children posted the video to Instagram to call the theme park out for the unacceptable behaviour.


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“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,” @__jodiii__ said in her post.

“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”

Sesame Workshop has since apologised for the incident with a statement that read: “Sesame Workshop is aware of the recent incident at @SesamePlace Philadelphia, which we take very seriously. What these children experienced is unacceptable.”

“We have been in contact with Sesame Place, our licensed park partner, and they have assured us that they will conduct bias training and a thorough review of the ways in which they engage with families and guests.

“As a global nonprofit educational organization with a mission to help children grow smarter, stronger and kinder, Sesame Workshop has always stood for respect, inclusion and belonging and is committed to providing the highest quality engaging experiences for all children and families. We hold our partners to the same high standards.

“We will continue working with our long-term partner Sesame Place to ensure that appropriate actions are taken and that incidents like this do not happen in the future.”

Unfortunately for the children’s entertainment conglomerate, many of those who are across the situation think it’s too little too late.

Singer Kelly Rowland wrote in a comment on Instagram: “Those gorgeous girls will never forget that feeling! THEY ARE KIDS!!!!! You should be ASHAMED of yourselves for this pathetic statement!”

The Instagram account @frobabies has been thoroughly documenting a number of other incidents where the staff engage in similarly discriminatory acts.


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The parents of the two little girls in the original video, Lauren and Rodney Willie spoke to MSNBC and said: “What’s the next step after the outrage?”

“What we want is for Sesame Place to do the things that they said they were going to do in their second statement which is to have better training, to have more inclusivity in mind for their staff and that would help significantly.

Then you wouldn’t have this deluge of videos coming out where people in the costume are behaving inappropriately and not aligning themselves with the character they’re supposed to be portraying.”