Sesame Workshop Promises Bias Training After Viral Video

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The organization Sesame Workshop, which created Sesame Street, has commented on a video that has gone viral and appears to show an instance of racial intolerance that happened at Sesame Place Philadelphia over the weekend.

Digital strategist Leslie Mac shared a video from her daughter Paige’s 4th birthday celebration weekend on Twitter early on Sunday.

In the nine-second footage, a performer dressed as Rosita approaches Paige and another small woman who are both Black and standing on the periphery of the procession of figures. Before waving goodbye Paige and her friend, Rosita, gives other park visitors high-fives and turns away from them while waving.

The video, which has had 7.3 million views as of press time, was captioned by Mac with the statement, “This is how #SesamePlace handled these wonderful Black youngsters.”

As soon as the video went viral on Monday, people began posting similar clips of Sesame Street characters conversing with others while ignoring Black children.

Sesame Workshop Promises Bias Training

The incident drew the attention of several Hollywood celebrities. Kelly Rowland commented on Sesame Place’s Instagram; on Twitter, Audra McDonald stated, “This is just terrible.” “Those beautiful girls won’t forget that feeling at all!”

“Every Black woman was once a little Black girl who made this face when the way things are in America first broke her heart,” Yvette wrote on Twitter.

On the other hand, Wendell Pierce stated that disillusionment can also occur in boys: “Watching [this moment] reminds me of my own.”

“I was four years old on Mardi Gras, and I was denied the joy I saw other kids have and the realization of the horrible reality.”

On Sunday night, Sesame Place posted an initial response to its Instagram account, explaining that the costumes typically obstruct performers’ sightlines and that the worker portraying Rosita’s “no” gesture was a typical response to declining requests to carry children for images, which is against park policy.

“We spoke to the family, apologized, and invited them back for a special meet-and-greet with our characters,” the statement said. However, Mac stated that this has not occurred.

Sesame Workshop Promises Bias Training

“This is the first and only time the family has heard about this offer, and Sesame Place has cut off email communications,” she tweeted. “The whole thing is a lie.”

Sesame Workshop weighed in late Monday afternoon, even though Sesame Place is a licensed companion. “What these children endured is intolerable,” the organization said on social media.

“We have spoken with Sesame Place, our licensed park partner, and they have assured us that they will conduct bias training and a thorough review of how they interact with families and guests.”

After the nonprofit made its claim, Sesame Place Philadelphia responded with a new, pinned tweet: “We sincerely apologize to the family for their experience in our park on Saturday; we know that it is not acceptable.”

We will train our employees to understand better, recognize, and provide our guests an inclusive, equitable, and entertaining experience.”

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