Sesame Place Sued for Another Alleged Instance of Racism

Father says his daughter, who is Black, was ignored by performers
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2022 12:46 AM CDT
Sesame Place Sued for Alleged Racial Discrimination
In this image from video provided by Jodi Brown, posted to Instagram on Saturday, July 16, 2022, a performer dressed as the character Rosita waves off Brown's daughter and another 6-year-old Black girl at the Sesame Place amusement park in Langhorne, Pa.   (Jodi Brown via AP)

Less than two weeks after a video of alleged racism at Sesame Place went viral, the theme park is being sued for alleged racial discrimination over a separate incident. Quinton Burns of Maryland says he took his 5-year-old daughter to the Philadelphia-area amusement park on June 18, and during a meet-and-greet that their tickets entitled them to participate in, four performers engaged "readily" with multiple white children while intentionally ignoring his daughter and other Black children. Burns has now filed a federal lawsuit, and is asking a judge to grant it class-action status on behalf of all Black people who have visited the theme park since July 27, 2018, NBC Philadelphia reports.

The suit claims SeaWorld, which owns Sesame Place, knew the employees were biased against Black people, and Burns decided to file after seeing the aforementioned video of a parade during which two other Black children appear to be ignored by a performer. The family involved in that incident has so far indicated they prefer to avoid a lawsuit, but their lawyer has said Sesame Place should pay for any mental health treatment the girls require as a result of the incident. Since that video went viral, many other families have come forward alleging similar incidents at Sesame Place, including others who posted videos showing performers engaging with children of other races while ignoring Black kids, the Bucks County Courier Times reports.

The new lawsuit claims the theme park's racism is "pervasive and appalling." Sesame Place apologized to the family that posted the first parade video, and says it is instituting new, mandatory employee training regarding equity and inclusivity. "We are committed to deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience for all our guests," it says in response to the lawsuit. It is not clear whether any of the performers involved have been disciplined. (Read more Pennsylvania stories.)

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