Theme Park Allegedly Caught Lying In Statement Following Racism Accusations

in Theme Parks

sesame-place

Credit: Sesame Place

This Philadelphia family theme park continues to be under fire following a series of racism allegations.

After a statement was released by Sesame Place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Park continues to receive significant backlash as more allegations of racist behavior continue to surface.

Sesame Place in San Diego California
Credit: Sesame Place

Related: Allegation Of Racist Theme Park Character Interaction Sparks Outrage

The incident that started this massive wave of videos exposing racism at the Park involved #BabyPaige and her friends, who went to Sesame Place Philadelphia to celebrate Paige’s 4th birthday.

The enraging video quickly gathered over 50,000 likes, 11,000 retweets, and 11,000 reactions, including one coming from user khr (@kyiarenee), who commented that regardless of any damage control actions taken by the Park, nothing can undo what the young girls felt in that moment.

It’s upsetting because no matter what damage control is attempted by Sesame Place, nothing can undo how these babies were made to feel in this moment. The looks on their faces are so heartbreaking.

Sesame Place Philadelphia released a statement addressing the incident, which reads:

Our brand, our park and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms. 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. 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.

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. The Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding. We spoke to the family and extended our apologies and invited them back for a special meet-and-greet opportunity with our characters. 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. 

Leslie Mac (@LeslieMac), who shared the original video, shared this statement on her Twitter account, adding that the family involved in this unpleasant incident had not been contacted by the Park, adding that “this entire statement is a lie.”

THEY HAVE NOT INVITED THE KIDS BACK FOR ANYTHING. This statement is the first & only time the family heard about this offer & Sesame Place has cut off email communications. The entire statement is a lie.

Unfortunately, more videos continue to surface, implying that the theme park has a history of racism and exposing more unpleasant interactions with several characters at the Park, some of which even involve physical attacks on young Guests.

Related: Theme Park’s “History” of Racism Exposed, Multiple Videos Spread Online

Carolyn Hinds (@CarrieCnh12) shared a video commenting that Rosita, the character seen in the above video, is not the only one seen engaging in such unacceptable behavior.

It wasn’t just Rosita. It’s happened with others too

Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) shared a video where a different character can be seen pushing a young girl until she falls down and then tries to hug her.

What the hell is going on with the staff at Sesame Place @SesamePlace?

User @KRSWong17 shared another video in which yet another character allegedly slapped a Guest.

Sesame Place Philadelphia has since released a second statement, which reads:

We sincerely apologize to the family for their experience in our park on Saturday; we know that it’s not ok. We are taking actions to do better. We are committed to making this right. We will conduct training for our employees so they better understand, recognize and deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience to out guests.

For over 40 years Sesame Place has worked to uphold the values of respect, inclusion and belonging. We are committed to doing a better job making children and families feel special, seen and included when they come to our parks.

However, many are still dissatisfied with how the Park is handling this unacceptable situation. User Jean-Pierre Joubert (@Catterwaul_) commented the following:

Um … “Families”, as in plural. “Incidents”, as in plural.

Based on footage there was a clear pattern of incidents involving multiple families, children and consistently racist behaviour. Ignoring this demonstrates your “apology” is aimed at saving face rather than fixing this.

 

Christoph Mergerson (@colorofresearch) added the following:

How about focusing on hiring employees who don’t require special training to not to be blatantly racist to young children and getting rid of the ones who do? That could be an option.

The situation has escalated so much that Sesame Workshop, the organization behind Sesame Street and the Park’s licensing, has released a statement addressing the unacceptable incidents that have taken place at Sesame Place Philadelphia. The statement reads:

Sesame Workshop is aware of the recent incident at Sesame Place 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.

However, the response to this statement has not been any better. User Kendriana (@futurafae) commented that Sesame Place Philadelphia’s license should be revoked in light of the series of incidents that have taken place at the Park, and that the company should be doing more to address the situation.

REVOKE THEIR LICENSING, invite the girls and family to the studio, treat them well and cover all the costs. Those girls will NEVER forget this; this type of childhood trauma stays with you forever. We’re upset because we know from experience, an apology/fake DEI isn’t enough.

Chad Gutstein (@chadgutstein) added to this commenting the following:

If a licensee did something that was 100% the opposite of everything my brand stood for, and if it turns out they had been doing these things to many people for a while, I might consider the clauses in my agreement that enable a breach of contract and license termination.

At the moment, it is unclear if any actions will be taken in addition to those mentioned in the statements by Sesame Place Philadelphia and Sesame Workshop to address this series of incidents. Inside The Magic will continue to report as more information is released.

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