Family Sues Sesame Place For $25 Million After Alleged Discrimination

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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A family is suing a Philadelphia-based Sesame Street theme park for $25 million after a costumed character allegedly snubbed a young black girl, according to litigation filed in a federal court.

Quinton Burns filed a lawsuit against SeaWorld, which owns the theme park Sesame Place, for alleged “pervasive and appalling race discrimination,” according to the Associated Press. The lawsuit alleges four employees ignored Burns and his 5-year-old daughter Kennedi Burns during a June 18 meet-and-greet at the park.

“SeaWorld’s performers readily engaged with numerous similarly situated white customers,” the lawsuit alleges, according to CBS News.

The family’s lawyer is calling on other families to come forward if they’ve experienced bias from workers at the theme park, CBS reported.

Sesame Place drew the ire of another black family in recent weeks as well. Mother Jodi Brown lawyered up after her daughter and niece appeared to be snubbed by the character Rosita during a parade, according to a video of the encounter. (RELATED: Mom Lawyers Up, Holds Press Conference After Accusing Sesame Street Character Of Being Racist For Snubbing Kids)

Sesame Place issued two statements insisting no racial discrimination took place. In a second statement, the theme park offered to refund the cost of the trip and offered a return 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 apology reads, according to CNN.

Sesame Workshop, the organization that licenses the theme park, released a statement July 18 telling patrons the theme park will conduct “bias training.”

Lawyers for the Brown family insisted the apologies are not enough and suggested they may seek compensatory damages via litigation as well, according to CNN.

“We will review the lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Burns,” a spokesperson for Sesame Place told the Daily Caller. “We look forward to addressing that claim through the established legal process. We are committed to deliver an inclusive, equitable, and entertaining experience for all our guests.”