Search icon


29th Jul 2022

Parents sue Sesame Place after performers ‘ignored’ Black children

Sarah McKenna Barry

The filing claims that the character performers “held personal beliefs of racial bias towards Black people.”

A US family is taking legal action against a Sesame Street theme park, after claiming that one of the characters ignored Black children while greeting other white kids during a meet and greet event.

As CNN reports, Quinton Burns has filed a $25 million civil suit against SeaWorld Parks in Philadelphia, where Sesame Place is located.

The suit claims that performers dressed as numerous Sesame Street characters “readily engaged with numerous similarly situated white customers”, but ignored Black children looking for hugs and high fives.

The filing says that four character performers “held personal beliefs of racial bias towards Black people”, and that SeaWorld was aware of these biases.

At a news conference, the family’s attorney Malcolm Ruff told reporters: “We stand before you here today simply trying to fight and protect little Black children and their fundamental civil rights.”

Recently, Sesame Place had to issue a statement after a video circulating on social media showed one of the characters appear to wave two Black girls away before going on to greet other children.

They said: “We are taking action and are reviewing our practices to identify necessary changes, both in the immediate and long-term. We are instituting mandatory training for all of our employees so that we can better recognize, understand, and deliver an inclusive, equitable, and entertaining experience for all our guests. We have already engaged with nationally recognized experts in this area.”

It continued: “We take this extremely seriously; we are heartbroken by what these young girls and this family experienced in our park. It is antithetical to our values, principles, and purpose. We are committed to working tirelessly and intentionally to make this situation better. We will do the necessary work for the long haul — not just in the public eye, but also behind the scenes and within ourselves.”