Over the weekend, Sesame Place Philadelphia went viral for all of the wrong reasons. Thanks to footage posted by Instagram user @__jodiii__, the park has been blasted after a video showed one of its costumed employees waving their finger in a “no” gesture at two little Black girls after high-fiving multiple people. In her original post, the mother of the two children wrote, “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! Then when I went to complain about it, they looking at me like I’m crazy. I asked the lady who the character was and I wanted to see a supervisor and she told me SHE DIDNT KNOW !! I will never step foot in @sesameplace ever again !”The video eventually went viral and sparked online commentary from social media users and celebrities alike. Even Kelly Rowland shared her thoughts on the matter, saying, “Had that been me… that whole parade would have been in flames. Like, are you serious? You’re not going to speak to my child?”Given the online backlash, it was only a matter of time before Sesame Place Philadelphia responded, and late on Sunday evening, the Sesame Street-themed amusement park shared a statement on the matter via its official Instagram account. “Our brand, our park and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms,” the statement read. “That is what Sesame Place is all about and we do not tolerate any behaviors in our parks that are contrary to that commitment. We also are, and have always been, committed to making sure every family and every child has the best possible experience at our parks and we are incredibly disappointed when that does not happen. Regarding the incident yesterday, the costumes our performers wear sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels and sometimes our performers miss hug requests from guests.”Dania Maxwell/Getty Images”The performer portraying the Rosita character has confirmed that the ‘no’ hand gesture seen several times in the video was not directed to any specific person, rather it 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 statement continued. “We apologize to these guests for not delivering the experience they expected and we commit to do our best to earn their and all guests’ visit and support.”The statement has been out for less than 24 hours, but judging from the post’s comment section, Sesame Place Philadelphia’s apology is not being taken seriously. Yung Miami commented under the post, writing, “RACI$T!! Take accountability!!!!!!!” and “SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!?” Dr. Chanita Foster also criticized the statement, saying, “PR statement is horrible.”InstagramMost notably, however, the mother of the two girls from the viral video has also spoken out once again, blasting Sesame Place Philadelphia for the seemingly disingenuine apology.”I never asked for that character to take a picture and As I am watching my video I don’t believe that family asked either,” the mother said in her rebuttal. “I whole heartedly feel as though that statement was released to save face. Also a manager reached out to me earlier via phone convo. I [responded] via dm to confirm. Since the post went viral no communication was had since then ! @sesameplace instead of trying to save face you should of gave a public apology to my girls! THat statement disrespectful and distasteful.””The character could’ve just waved to everyone or just kept walking, but to blatantly look at my kids and say no! I’m not [accepting] that. Don’t try to tell me he can’t see lower levels,” she continued. “So embarrassing and hurtful. I will repost this video everyday until the situation is handled. Signed : A hurt mom.”See the full statements from Sesame Place and the mother of the two girls from the viral video below, via The Neighborhood Talk and The Shade Room.Let us know what you think about the situation in the comment section, and stay tuned for more updates.
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