Sesame Workshop is in the hot seat after videos of cast members at their theme park, Sesame Park, seem to show many Black children being mistreated by their favorite characters! And people are pissed off by the alleged behavior — including Kelly Rowland!
The controversy first caught fire on Sunday when Instagram user @__jodiii__, who goes by Jeezy, posted a video of two young Black girls standing on the sidelines of a parade at the Philadelphia amusement park. As the character Rosita came down the line saying hello to and high-fiving lots of fans in the crowd, the apparent mom was horrified when Rosita seemingly dismissed the girls by waving her hands “no” and walking away! The poor girls looked so upset and confused afterward!!
In the caption of the now-viral video, Jeezy explained the situation in more detail, saying:
“I’m going to keep posting this, because this had me hot. 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!”
WTF?! Unfortunately, when Jeezy tried to get some answers about what had just happened, her unease about the situation intensified, she continued:
“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 ! And please feel free to repost this. Actually run me my money back so mad I stopped the video but it got me so mad when he blatantly told them no”
The video has racked up thousands of views so far, with hundreds of viewers sharing their frustrations in the comments. Even Destiny’s Child’s star Kelly Rowland was left feeling fed up after watching it! She reposted the clip to her Instagram Story on Sunday, expressing according to Newsweek:
“OH HELL NAWWW!! TF! This just made me so mad!”
The 41-year-old went on to demand the family receive “an explanation,” insisting:
“Ok so, 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? And did you see that baby’s face at the end? The little one with the pink on? She deserves an explanation. Hello.”
The next night at the Nope red carpet premiere in LA, Kelly was “still upset” by the awful encounter she witnessed, telling Entertainment Tonight:
“I’m still upset. I was livid. And I know, me personally, I would’ve burned the place down. I’ve said it before and I really mean it.”
In light of the controversy, Sesame Workshop released a statement on social media addressing the viral video and explaining their steps to ensure nothing like this happens again. They declared:
“Sesame Workshop is aware of the recent incident at Sesame Place Philadelphia, which we take very seriously. What these children experienced is unacceptable. We have been in contact with Sesame Place, our licensed park partner, and they have assured us that they will conduct bias training and a thorough review of the ways in which they engage with families and guests.”
Sesame Place Philadelphia also announced:
“We sincerely apologize to the family for their experience in our park on Saturday; we know that it’s not OK. We are taking actions to do better. We are committed to making this right. We will conduct training for our employees so they better understand, recognize and deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience to our guests. For over 40 years Sesame Place has worked to uphold the values of respect, inclusion and belonging. We are committed to doing a better job making children and families feel special, seen and included when they come to our parks.”
But that announcement came after they tried to explain away the controversy, saying in their initial statement:
“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.”
Hmm. The park also claimed characters in costume have a “difficult” time seeing those “at lower levels.” They invited the family back for a “meet-and-greet opportunity” to make up for the issue. It doesn’t sound like the family is interested in that since they are reportedly weighing their legal options amid suspicions of racism, per TMZ. Judging by several other videos now flooding social media depicting characters mistreating other Black children, it seems like this is more than a one-time incident, too!!
In one clip obtained by TMZ, the character known as Honkers rushes up to a little girl and knocked her to the ground with its big belly. In what world was that appropriate?!
Another video shows Bert going down a line high-fiving every child – and then refusing to do so for an older Black girl who looks back at the camera shocked. And there are plenty of others with similar horror stories. So awful!
For a place that’s all about inclusion and acceptance, this alleged behavior is sure MESSED UP!! What in the actual f**k?! All of those families deserve more than an apology! rReactions, Perezcious readers?!
The post Sesame Street Scandal! Kelly Rowland ‘Livid’ As Videos Of Mistreated Black Children Go Viral! appeared first on Perez Hilton.