UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — The mother who filmed a now viral video, which she said shows a Sesame Place performer in Philadelphia ignoring her Black daughter and niece, spoke out on the Upper West Side on Wednesday with her attorney.
The clip, which has been viewed millions of times on social media, shows the character Rosita high-fiving guests at the theme park on Saturday. Jodi Brown said her six-year-old daughter Nylah and niece Skylar were intentionally dismissed as the performer gestured “no.”
“For little children, they should not have to experience such hurt and embarrassment from a character who’s supposed to bring joy,” Brown said.
B’Ivory LaMarr is the family attorney.
“I know our Black girls are magic, but I didn’t know that they were invisible,” LaMarr said.
A statement issued by Sesame Place on Instagram said the gesture was not racially motivated and 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.” But LaMarr doesn’t believe it’s true.
“It’s false,” LaMarr said. “We believe it’s false.”
LaMarr said if Sesame Place does not issue an apology by Wednesday night taking full responsibility for the performer’s actions, his office will release additional evidence that they claim shows a different perspective.
“When you see what happened before and what happened after … and because America has not seen what happened after, we’ll show you tomorrow,” LaMarr added.
He claims the performer immediately embraced another child after allegedly rejecting the two Black girls.
In the same statement, the theme park said the customers make it difficult for performers to see at lower levels.
“If that is the case, that the costume has some blind spots, then the costumes need to be changed and the customers don’t need to know anything about it,” activist Tamika Mallory said.
The family is also demanding the performer be fired and all mental health and other health care expenses be covered. Brown was at the presser with her niece, Nylah. She said her daughter Skylar is in isolation because of the trauma she experienced.
Brown shared this message with the six-year-old girls.
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“Love outweighs hate and not everyone is a bad person, so you may have encountered a bad person that day, but I’m going to make sure that they know that there [are] millions other people who’s here to support them and love them,” Brown added.
The attorney also said they are not going to file a lawsuit and that it’s a last resort because they don’t want to drag the children through the litigation process. What they want instead is healing and for change to happen.
They said they’re speaking up for the principle and not for money.
PIX11 News reached out to Sesame Place for comment and is waiting to hear back, but in a second statement on Instagram this week, the theme park said it apologizes to the family and is taking action to do better. Sesame Place said it will be training employees for a more inclusive and equitable experience.