A Baltimore family is filing a $25 million discrimination lawsuit against Sesame Place over alleged racial discrimination, per Associated Press. As REVOLT previously reported, Quinton Burns claims four “Sesame Street” characters ignored him, his daughter Kennedi, and other Black guests during a meet-and-greet at the amusement park on June 18. In an update, Burns has provided the footage of the incident to The Root after filing.
The lawsuit alleges the company was aware that their employees – who are accused of ignoring Black guests – held racial biases. The workers were named as defendants in the case. The Burns lawsuit comes one week after an angered mother, Joi Brown, accused the character, Rosita, of racially discriminating against her child at the Pennsylvania Sesame Place. The park released a statement regarding the alleged discrimination: “We sincerely apologize to the family for their experience in our park on Saturday; we know that it’s not ok,” they wrote. “We will conduct training for our employees so they better understand, recognize and deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience to our guests.”
Footage of the alleged discrimination surfaced online last week, which Brown’s attorney, B’Ivory Lamarr, says supports claims that the Sesame characters ignore Black guests. The viral clip shows the “Sesame Street” character, Rosita, waving and high-fiving white patrons before ignoring the two Black girls that stood next to them. The amusement park denied the character purposely ignored the girls and claimed the “no” hand gesture seen in the video was directed at attendees asking for a picture. “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,” the park wrote in a statement, adding, “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 family is now seeking compensation and wants the company to pay for mental health care costs, Lamarr said during a press conference in New York City on Wednesday (July 20). He declared, “We don’t want some explanation that ‘Oh, the performer didn’t see these two young girls’ — which one of them is in isolation today by the harm that has been caused by this company. The second thing that we’re requesting is the immediate termination of that performer. The third thing we’re going to request is … they take care of any type of health care or mental care expenses.”
See Burns’ newly released footage below: