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Mom Lawyers Up, Holds Press Conference After Accusing Sesame Street Character Of Being Racist For Snubbing Kids

Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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Mother Jodi Brown lawyered up after an allegedly racist Sesame Street character at a theme park near Philadelphia appeared to snub her daughter and niece.

A video at the Pennsylvania-based Sesame Place shows the character Rosita seemingly ignoring two black girls as they reach for a hug. The kids appear to be reaching for a hug when the character shakes its head and walks away.

Brown claimed in an interview with CNN that the character was intentionally racist against her daughter and niece. The mother alleges that “after the character passed them, there was another little girl next to them who was a different race and [Rosita] hugged her,” though she stopped recording before that allegedly occurred.

“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 [sic] at me like I’m crazy,” Brown said in her Instagram caption. “I will never step foot in Sesame Place ever again.”

The Daily Caller reached out to B’Ivory LaMarr, the lawyer representing Brown.

LaMarr held a press conference Wednesday with the mother, her child, and Women’s March activist Tamika Mallory. LaMarr alleges that there are other incidents of characters and performers being racist towards minority children.

“What has taken place at Sesame Street … is utterly disgusting and unacceptable,” LaMarr said. “We have come to learn that what took place on Saturday is not an anomaly … We reject any notion that the performer’s action this past Saturday was anything short of intentional.”

 

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Sesame Place released an initial statement claiming that the Rosita character was attempting to avoid someone who requested multiple times for the character to hold their child. (RELATED: Sesame Street Introduces Family With Two Gay Dads)

“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 theme park’s statement reads. “The Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding.”

Sesame Place released a second statement saying that it apologized to the family, refunded the costs and offered the family a return visit with a VIP-style experience.

“On Sunday we did speak with and apologize to the family for the experience, offering a return trip for a meet and greet personalized experience with the characters. We offered to refund her visit costs. That refund has been processed, but it would not have been received yet,” the statement reads.

“It is not acceptable to us when children and families don’t feel special, seen and included at our park. Our performers work here to entertain and inspire all children — not to disappoint any of them,” the statement continued.

NEW YORK - JUNE 25: The Sesame Street Muppet Rosita tells children about the "You Can Ask!" program June 25, 2003 in New York City. "You Can Ask!" is a program that aims to help identify and deal with stress in children 3 to 8, and was funded by FEMA in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. P.S. 234 is near the WTC site, and the children there had to be evacuated during the attack. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – JUNE 25: The Sesame Street Muppet Rosita tells children about the “You Can Ask!” program June 25, 2003 in New York City. “You Can Ask!” is a program that aims to help identify and deal with stress in children 3 to 8, and was funded by FEMA in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. P.S. 234 is near the WTC site, and the children there had to be evacuated during the attack. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

“We commit to learn everything we can from this situation and make needed changes,” the statement said. “We will provide additional training for Sesame Place employees to help them better understand, recognize and deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience to our guests.”

Sesame Place told the Daily Caller that they “sincerely apologize” to the family and said they are “taking actions to do better.”

“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,” a spokesperson said.

Sesame Workshop, the organization that licenses the theme park, released a statement telling patrons that the theme park will conduct “bias training.”

This article was updated to include details from Wednesday’s press conference.