The lawsuit comes in the wake of a viral video showing two other Black girls apparently being snubbed by a costumed employee during a parade at the Bucks County park.
A Baltimore family is suing Sesame Place for $25 million over claims of racial discrimination, alleging multiple costumed characters ignored a 5-year-old Black girl during a meet-and-greet event last month.
The lawsuit comes in the wake of a viral video showing two other Black girls apparently being snubbed by a costumed employee during a parade at the park in Langhorne, Bucks County earlier this month.
The nine-second video, posted to Instagram by Jodi Brown, the mother of one of the girls, showed the character Rosita high-fiving a white child and woman, then gesturing “no” and walking away from the two girls who had their arms stretched out for a hug and high-five during a parade at Sesame Place in Langhorne, outside Philadelphia.
“I will never step foot in @sesameplace ever again,” Brown said online.
Sesame Place apologized in a statement and promised more training for its employees. The statement also noted that performers sometimes miss requests for hugs because the costumes they wear make it difficult to see at lower levels.
The suit, which seeks class action status, was filed in a federal court in Philadelphia against SeaWorld Parks, the owner of the Sesame Place, for “pervasive and appalling race discrimination.”
The lawsuit alleges four employees dressed as Sesame Street characters ignored Quinton Burns, his daughter Kennedi Burns and other Black guests during the meet-and-greet on June 18. The lawsuit says “SeaWorld’s performers readily engaged with numerous similarly situated white customers.”
During a press conference held Wednesday, one of the family’s attorneys, Malcolm Ruff, called for transparency from SeaWorld and for the company to compensate the Burns family. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.