Sesame Place Philadelphia has come under fire after a mother of two young Black girls claims her daughters were intentionally dismissed by a performer dressed as a Sesame Street character over the weekend.
In the now-viral video footage shared by the mother on her Instagram account, the two Black girls are seen enjoying the Sesame Street Party Parade during their trip to the park just outside of Philadelphia. However, it appears that the character waves them off and shakes her head "no," declining to interact with them. Both girls are left visibly confused and hurt.
"I'm going to keep posting this, because this had me hot," @_jodiiii_ captioned the video. "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!"
The video does not show the character hugging the white girl. Watch the clip below:
Sesame Place Philadelphia Releases Statement
In the wake of the backlash, Sesame Place Philadelphia said in a statement on Instagram Sunday that the costumes its performers wear "sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels" and that sometimes "performers miss hug requests from guests."
Sesame Place said the performer portraying Rosita did not direct the "no" hand gesture, which was used more than once in the video, toward "any specific person," but was instead gesturing that way in "response to multiple requests from someone in the crowd who asked Rosita to hold their child for a photo which is not permitted."
"The Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding," the statement said. "We spoke to the family and extended our apologies and invited them back for a special meet-and-greet opportunity with our characters."
Character Seen Snubbing Other Black Children on Video
Amid the controversy, an Instagram user shared additional video footage, seemingly showing the same character ignoring other Black children. In one clip, Rosita is seen ignoring a little Black boy asking for a high-five.
In another, the character appears to snub a Black girl before hugging a white girl standing right next to her.