Sesame Place to undergo bias training after calls for racism
Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization that runs Sesame Street, said it would ‘conduct bias training and an in-depth examination of how it engages families and guests’ at Sesame Place after a video of ‘a a potential racial bias incident has gone viral online.
“As a global non-profit educational organization with a mission to help children become smarter, stronger and kinder, Sesame Workshop has always stood for respect, inclusion and belonging and is committed to provide the highest quality, engaging experiences for all children and families,” the organization said in a statement.
In a video posted to Twitter, two young black girls from Sesame Place Philadelphia waved excitedly and held out their arms when a performer in a Rosita costume approached.
Rosita claps the hands of park goers as she walks along the line, before appearing to shake her head and greet the two girls as she walks away from them.
“#BabyPaige and her adorable boyfriends went to @SesamePlace this weekend to celebrate Paige’s 4th birthday & this is how #SesamePlace treated these beautiful black kids,” the tweet, posted by the apparent aunt of birthday girlLily.
“While we hate to speculate and consider ‘race’ as the motivating factor, which would explain the performer’s actions, such actions both before and after the young girls reached out to us only lead us ‘to one conclusion,’ said attorney B’Ivory LaMarr, who is representing the family.
He continued, “Although Sesame Place claims to stand for inclusivity and equality, this was not demonstrated last Saturday. We are currently investigating this incident and will pursue all legal remedies possible to further protect this family.”
Outrage ensued online as more footage of similar incidents with characters in the park was posted online in response to the viral video. Calls for a boycott of Sesame Place are increasing on social networks.
Philadelphia Sesame Square released a statement about the incidentsaying, “We know this is not OK. We are taking steps to do better. We are committed to remedying the situation.”
The park said it will conduct training for employees to provide an “inclusive, fair and fun” experience for park visitors.
Sesame Place is a licensed partner park of Sesame Workshop.
ABC News’ Sabina Ghebremedhin and Kendall Ross contributed to this report.