A new video shows the moment a Sesame Street theme park employee allegedly disrespected a five-year-old black girl as her father is suing her for $25 million.
Quinton Burns claims four employees dressed as Sesame Street characters ignored his daughter Kennedy and other black guests during a June 18 meet and greet.
The video opens with costumed characters dancing in a parade as an employee dressed as the Telly Monster walks up to shake and shake the hands of several children.
Among the children in the group was Kennedy, who tried to catch up with the character before he walked away and waved to other audience members. Kennedy then turns to his father with a big frown on his face.
Moments later, a staffer dressed as Ernie was seen greeting the same group, but also stopped shortly after shaking hands with Kennedy.
Sesame Place has explained that the alleged theft was not intentional and that employees in these incidents simply could not see everyone due to the clothing’s limited visibility.
Quinton Burns claims four employees dressed as Sesame Street characters, including one as the Telly Monster (above), ignored his daughter Kennedy and other black guests during a June 18 meet and greet.
In the video, 5-year-old Kennedy can be seen reaching out to the character as he walks by as he greets other guests. The child then turns to his father with a look that says he broke his heart
The video also shows Ernie allegedly grinning at the girl. Sesame Place explained that workers simply cannot see everyone due to the clothing’s limited field of view.
“Just looking at his face makes me want to cry every time,” Burns said during a press conference Wednesday.
The lawsuit, which seeks class action status, was filed in federal court in Philadelphia against SeaWorld Parks, the owner of Sesame Place, for “pervasive and egregious racial discrimination.”
It comes after a viral video showed two other black girls from New York apparently being disrespected by Rositan during a parade in Langhorne Park outside Philadelphia.
Sesame Place apologized for the incident and explained that the actor in the Rosita costume simply could not see their daughter due to the limited field of vision of the costume.
The outrage prompted more families to come forward with similar experiences.
Quinton Burns, left, spoke of his pain Wednesday after he filed a lawsuit alleging that daughter Kennedy, right, was ignored by characters in the Sesame Street theme park parade because she is black.
The lawsuit alleges that “SeaWorld performers willingly interacted with numerous similarly situated white customers.”
At a news conference Wednesday, one of the family’s attorneys, Malcolm Ruff, called for transparency from SeaWorld and for the company to compensate the Burns family.
“He was overlooked in a sea of other white kids who could hang out, hug, high-five,” Ruff said.
“Kennedy was made to experience racism at the age of 5. This is unacceptable and we will not stand by and allow this to continue,” Ruff continued.
The lawsuit comes after a video that went viral on social media showed two other black girls from New York appearing to be groped by a costumed employee during a parade in Langhorne Park outside Philadelphia.
Sesame Workshop, which was careful to explain that Sesame Place is a licensed partner, then released another statement on its social media Monday night.
Sesame Place responded to the lawsuit in a statement Eyewitness news“We will review the lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Burns. We look forward to addressing that claim through the prescribed legal process. We are committed to providing an inclusive, fair and fun experience for all our guests.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have reportedly requested a meeting with management at the Sesame Street theme park after a video showing a costumed character shaking two six-year-old black girls during a parade went viral.
Jodi Brown, the mother of one of the girls, first shared the nine-second clip last weekend, which shows Sesame Place character Rosita calling out a white child and woman, then making a “no” gesture and walking away for two of black girls. who had clasped hands.
Members of the Black Caucus are seeking a meeting with the theme park’s general manager, Kathy Valeriano, to “discuss the changes, action plans and training the park plans to implement.” Fox News reporter Chad Pergram said on Saturday.
“Over the past week, we’ve seen many stark examples of racism coming from the park, including the viral video of two beautiful little black girls being blatantly rejected by a character they adored while hugging white children.”
Sesame Place confirmed the incident in a statement on Instagram on Saturday, but said it was a “misunderstanding.”
Brown claimed that Rosita hugged the white child immediately after smacking her daughter and niece, although those events are not shown in the video.
On Saturday, Brown showed up MSNBC and said he rejected an apology issued by Sesame Place, a theme park outside Philadelphia.
“I don’t believe it was real, I think they were just spreading the word because of how viral the video went,” Brown said.
Brown’s attorney, B’Ivory Lamar, appeared at her mother’s side and repeated her threat to sue the theme park and demand that the unidentified employee in the Rosita costume be fired.
In a statement on Sunday, theme park officials called the now-viral moment a “misunderstanding,” saying the mascot may not have seen the girls because of limited vision in the costume’s unruly mask.
“Our brand, our park and our employees stand for inclusion and equality in every way,” the statement said. “Sesame Place is just that, and we do not tolerate any behavior in our parks that conflicts with that commitment.”
“We are also committed, and always have been, to ensuring that every family and every child has the best possible experience in our parks, and we are incredibly disappointed when this does not happen.”
“We have spoken to the family and apologized and invited them back for a special opportunity to meet and greet our heroes,” the statement said.
The park said the actor playing Rosita, who has not been named, “did not intentionally ignore the girls and was upset by the misunderstanding.”
The statement said Rosita was saying no to another guest who asked to hold their baby for a photo, “which is not allowed.”
The park also said the mascot likely didn’t see the girls due to the limited visibility of the costume’s unruly mask, which “Sometimes making it hard to see at lower levels” lead actors who sometimes “miss requests for hugs from guests”.
“We apologize to these guests for not providing the experience they expected, and we are committed to doing everything we can to honor their visit and support,” the statement said.
Father Sues ‘Sesame Street’ Theme Park For $25 Million, Says ‘Racist’ Character Neglected His Daughter
SourceFather Sues ‘Sesame Street’ Theme Park For $25 Million, Says ‘Racist’ Character Neglected His Daughter