Sesame Place Philadelphia is defending itself after facing accusations from a mother who said her two Black daughters were shunned by an employee dressed as the Rosita character. A viral video shows Rosita high-fiving several white children and bystanders at the park, but walking past the Black girls after seemingly giving them a “no” gesture.
In a statement on Sunday, Sesame Place Philadelphia said “the ‘no’ gesture seen several times in the video was not directed to any specific person.”
“Rather is 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 park said.
The company also pointed to the costume as another possible factor that may have caused the confusion.
“The costumes our performers wear sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels and sometimes our performers miss hug requests from guests,” Sesame Place said.
The mother of the two Black girls, who goes by Jodi on Instagram, said the incident “had me hot.”
“We were on our way out of sesame place and the kids wanted to stop to see the characters. THIS DISGUSTING person blatantly told our kids NO then proceeded to hug the little white girl next to us!” Jodi wrote.
The outraged mother also said the employees didn’t help her find a supervisor.
“I will never step foot in @sesameplace ever again!” she said. “And please feel free to repost this. Actually run me my money back so mad I stopped the video but it got me so mad when he blatantly told them no.”
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Sesame Place has invited the family back to the park.
“We apologize to these guests for not delivering the experience they expected,” the park said.