Sesame Place announces changes to diversity programs after recent high-profile racial incidents – CBS Philly


LANGHORNE, Pa. (CBS) — Sesame Place has announced a series of actions aimed at advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. This follows several allegations of bias against black children.

The news announced late Tuesday afternoon comes as public outcry continues for families to boycott.

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Sesame Place has announced a racial equity review following allegations of bias after a now-viral video sparked protests and calls for a boycott of the Bucks County theme park.

The family of the two little girls alleges that costumed character Rosita snubbed black girls during a parade on July 16.

Jodi Brown, who shared the experience on Instagram, says the character clapped hands with a white child and woman, then waved “no” and walked away from her daughter and his niece who had her arms outstretched for a hug and a high-five.

Days later, a Baltimore family filed a class action lawsuit alleging pervasive discrimination against parent company SeaWorld. They say this video shows four Sesame Place characters ignoring 5-year-old Kennedi Burns during his visit on Father’s Day weekend.

In a statement on Tuesday, Sesame Place said the fairness review will be chaired by national civil rights experts. It will also include mandatory anti-bias training for all employees by the end of September, as well as enhancements to the current diversity program.

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The President of Sesame Place said “the steps we are taking will help us deliver on our promise to provide a fair and inclusive experience for all of our customers.”

The Bucks County Diversity Officer will also review park policies once all disputes have been resolved.

“It’s absolutely more than just on our radar,” said Bernard Griggs Jr., Bucks County Project and Diversity Manager.

Brown and his attorney will meet with SeaWorld’s CEO on Thursday. Civil rights leaders will also be present at this meeting.

“We acknowledge SeaWorld’s recent response to public requests made by Rainbow PUSH, NAACP, Until Freedom, and others, which stemmed from the July 16 incident at Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. On Thursday, August 11, parents from Skylar and Nylah will accompany me to a meeting with SeaWorld CEO Marc Swanson, as well as the Reverend Jesse Jackson and other leaders. We hope that this previously scheduled meeting will address the shortcomings we have noted in this latest press release. We will provide a more detailed statement after this meeting,” attorney B’Ivory LaMarr said.

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CBS3’s Ross DiMattei contributed to this report.


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