On Aug. 1, TMZ posted a video of a Black mother’s unpleasant experience during a visit to Chuck E. Cheese with her daughter. In the footage, a little Black girl excitedly jumps up and down as the costumed character makes his way towards her at the popular kids pizzeria. While dancing, the happy child holds her hand out for a high five. The large rodent doesn’t greet her, but interacts with children who appear to be white.
The woman, who has been identified as Naney D. Muhammad, now plans to take legal action. Today (Aug. 4), the outlet reported that Muhammad views the behavior at the New Jersey establishment as overt and blatantly racist. “At this point, it seems like it’s becoming a pattern with little Black kids getting ignored at amusement parks and indoor playgrounds where they’re supposed to feel like a child,” the mother said. Muhammad added that when she reached out to Chuck E. Cheese’s corporate office, she received a response that was empty and void of an apology.
Interactions like what Muhammad witnessed with her Black daughter have been a hot topic lately. The costumed character fallout began on July 17 when a Black mother named Jodi Brown posted a video of her daughter being ignored by Rosita during a parade at Sesame Place in Langhorne, Philadelphia. Soon, many videos were shared online showing similar situations taking place. Brown’s family has sought legal action and even held a press conference outside the Sesame Workshop in New York City to address the issue.
Despite the recent bad press, Muhammad told TMZ she would still take her child to see the costumed performers at Sesame Place because “she loves Elmo [and] she loves Cookie Monster.” The mother also noted that she’d already promised her daughter she would allow her to experience the children’s theme park.