Lower than two weeks after a video of a personality showing to rebuff two Black kids at Sesame Place went viral, no less than one household has sued the Philadelphia theme park for racial discrimination.
A Black father and daughter from Baltimore filed a class-action lawsuit Wednesday in Philadelphia towards SeaWorld Parks & Leisure, which operates Sesame Place. The grievance alleges that characters on the “Sesame Road”-themed park “refused to have interaction” with their household “and all different Black company in attendance.”
The plaintiffs — recognized individually as Quinton Burns and KB and collectively because the Burns — are looking for compensatory, precise, punitive and statutory damages, together with curiosity, exceeding $25 million.
The lawsuit claims that theme-park performers dressed as “Sesame Road” characters — together with Elmo, Ernie, Telly Monster and Abby Cadabby — have dedicated “pervasive and appalling race discrimination towards kids within the operation of Sesame Place Philadelphia.”
After visiting Sesame Place in June, the Burns intend to symbolize “all Black individuals who … suffered disparate therapy” from Sesame Place staff who allegedly ignored Black kids “whereas brazenly interacting with equally located white kids.”
In an announcement supplied Thursday to the Los Angeles Occasions, Sesame Place stated it can “overview the lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Burns.”
“We sit up for addressing that declare by way of the established authorized course of,” the assertion learn. “We’re dedicated to ship an inclusive, equitable and entertaining expertise for all our company.”
The lawsuit calls for that SeaWorld Parks & Leisure implement “rigorous obligatory cultural sensitivity coaching,” in addition to “obligatory academic programs … on the historical past of discrimination towards Black folks in America” for its workers. The Burnses additionally request that the theme-park big vet future candidates through “cutting-edge psychological screening strategies … to keep away from hiring racially bigoted staff and brokers,” in addition to consider “by applicable psychological testing and behavioral historical past” current staffers with a view to decide the destiny of their employment.
The Burnses’ lawsuit lands shortly after Jodi Brown posted a video on Instagram of a Sesame Place worker dressed as Rosita waving off her younger daughter and a pal throughout a parade on the Philadelphia theme park.
After Brown’s footage of the performer showing to snub two Black ladies ignited a backlash and raised claims of racism on social media, Sesame Place issued an announcement that the “‘no’ hand gesture” from Rosita was “not directed at any particular particular person,” however somewhat “a response to a number of requests from somebody within the crowd who requested Rosita to carry their youngster for a photograph which isn’t permitted.”
“The Rosita performer didn’t deliberately ignore the women and is devastated in regards to the misunderstanding,” the assertion learn. “We apologize to those company for not delivering the expertise they anticipated and we decide to do our greatest to earn their and all company’ go to and assist.”
When that response didn’t go over properly, Sesame Workshop — the group behind “Sesame Road” — issued a second apology vowing to “conduct bias coaching and a radical overview of the methods through which [Sesame Place employees] have interaction with households and company.”
“What these kids skilled is unacceptable,” Sesame Workshop stated.
“We’ll proceed working with our long-term accomplice Sesame Place to make sure that applicable actions are taken and that incidents like this don’t occur sooner or later.”
Occasions library director Cary Schneider contributed to this report.