Family from viral Sesame Place video hires lawyer, says kids were 'mistreated' by Rosita actor
The family at the center of the now-viral Sesame Place video has hired a lawyer after both the Philadelphia amusement park and Sesame Workshop issued statements on the matter.
B'Ivory LaMarr of the B'Ivory LaMarr Trial Lawyers firm confirmed in a statement that he has taken on the family of the two African-American girls "who were intentionally mistreated by a Sesame Place employee during a parade."
Leslie Mac, a comms director at The Frontline, and the mother, who goes by Jeezy on Instagram, both posted video of the two kids in question waiting for a Rosita actor to walk by them during a parade at Sesame Place on Saturday. According to the mother, the Rosita actor refused the kids when they went in for hugs and "then proceeded to hug the little white girl" next to them.
"We are appalled, both, by the actions of the performer and the lack of accountability and audacity of the Sesame Place theme park to defend such egregious actions," LaMarr said. "We will not hasten to exercise every remedy under the law to hold this theme park accountable for what we construe as nothing short of intentional mistreatment to their minority patrons."
Sesame Place released multiple statements as the incident began attracting more attention, including from singer Kelly Rowland and National Law Firm founder Ben Crump.
The park first stated that the Rosita actor confirmed that the "no" hand gesture "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."
"The Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding," the statement continued.
Additional videos have since been shared by others on social media and appear to suggest the Rosita performer's behavior may not be an isolated incident.
Adding more fuel to the fire is the fact that Sesame Place said they "spoke to the family and extended our apologies and invited them back for a special meet-and-greet opportunity with our characters." According to Mac, the park statement was "the first & only time the family heard about this offer & Sesame Place has cut off email communications."
The Shade Room captured video of Rowland's Instagram Story response to the incident. "Had that been me, that whole parade would have been in flames," the Talk a Good Game and Here I Am singer said. "Are you serious? You're not gonna speak to my child? And then did you see that baby's face at the end, that little one with the pink on? She deserves an explanation."
Rowland had also responded in the Instagram comments to Sesame Place's initial statement. "Those gorgeous girls will never forget that feeling! THEY ARE KIDS!!!!!" she wrote. "You should be ASHAMED of yourselves for this pathetic statement!"
Later in the day, the larger Sesame Workshop non-profit chimed in on the matter with its licensed park partner. "What these children experienced is unacceptable," the organization said.
The statement also mentioned they were in contact with Sesame Place Philadelphia and were assured "they will conduct bias training and a thorough review of the ways in which they engage with families and guests."
This was followed by a second statement from the park that read, "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."