Family Calls For Sesame Place to Fire 'Rosita' performer, Accuses Theme Park of Racism
A viral video of the Rosita character at Sesame Place visibly dismissing two Black girls has sparked outrage online.
Outrage has spread after a viral video showed a costumed performer at Sesame Place visibly dismiss two 6-year-old Black girls on Saturday. Now, the family is calling on the theme park to fire the employee.
In the video, posted to Instagram by Jodi Brown, "Sesame Street" character Rosita is shown high-fiving a white child and woman – but then gesturing “no” and walking away from Brown's daughter and niece, who had their arms stretched out for a hug and high-five during the parade at Sesame Place in Langhorne, outside Philadelphia.
"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 at me like I'm crazy," Brown wrote in her post Saturday. “I will never step foot in @sesameplace ever again."
In a news conference Wednesday near Sesame Workshop, the New York nonprofit behind “Sesame Street," the family's legal team called for the immediate firing of the employee who dismissed the two girls.
"Today is a day of accountability," the family's lawyer, Houston-based trial attorney B’Ivory LaMarr, said to reporters. "What has taken place at Sesame Place this past Saturday, and the months and years prior, is utterly disgusting and unacceptable."
LaMarr's law office confirmed to USA TODAY early Thursday that LaMarr had communicated with the counsel for Sesame Place but that no lawsuit had been filed yet. Updates were expected in the coming days.
"All options are on the table," LaMarr said Wednesday. "The last thing we want to do is file a lawsuit. ... This is not about money, but they do need to take responsibility and make sure these girls get the adequate care that they deserve.”
For now, the family's attorney said Wednesday, the family is calling on Sesame Place to fire the employee, take care of the health and mental health expenses for the two girls after the incident, and issue a "genuine and authentic" apology – not a "watered-down" explanation.
In an initial statement shared on social media Sunday, Sesame Place said that the park and its employees stand for “inclusivity and equality in all forms" and that the "costumes our performers wear sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels and sometimes our performers miss hug requests from guests."