Rev. Jesse Jackson is getting engaged in the Sesame Place racial discrimination issue, bringing suggestions for improving the theme park for Black people to the table. Racism allegations against the park took wave when Jodi Brown posted a video on Instagram where a mascot ignored two Black girls and “proceeded to hug the little white girl next” to them. Ever since then, more social media posts have surfaced showing videos of similar incidents where mascots have been seen ignoring Black kids while interacting with white children beside them.
In a letter obtained by TMZ, Rev. Jackson wrote to SeaWorld, which owns Sesame Place Philadelphia, “We need SeaWorld to take a stance against past practices and do what is necessary to end discriminatory acts at their theme parks.” He suggested that the park should engage an African American firm to manage staff cultural sensitivity training, invest money in Black-owned businesses, and appoint African Americans to their board of directors. He added that the park should make “proactive changes to their employment and hiring practices,” and to do “right by those harmed at Sesame Place.”
TMZ reported that the park is now facing a $25 million class action lawsuit. The complaint said that the park and its staff have victimized and humiliated Black visitors, particularly children. It lists a man named Quinton Burns, who says he and his family visited Sesame Place on June 18, 2022. Burns said he purchased tickets to the park for himself and his young daughter with the expectation they’d experience a “Meet and Greet” with Sesame Street characters. However — when he and his kid attended a “Meet and Greet” with costumed performers of Elmo, Ernie, Telly Monster and Abby Cadabby — the characters refused to engage with them and other Black guests as well. Burns said in the lawsuit that the performers were more than happy to engage with white customers at the same event.