Parents file $25 MILLION racial discrimination lawsuit against Sesame Street

1 August, 2022
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Parents file $25 MILLION racial discrimination lawsuit against Sesame Street

A Baltimore family is suing a Sesame Street-themed amusement park for $25 million over claims of racial discrimination, alleging multiple costumed characters ignored their five-year-old daughter during a meet-and-greet event last month because she was black.

The suit, which seeks class action status, was filed in a federal court in Philadelphia against SeaWorld Parks, the owner of the Sesame Place, for 'pervasive and appalling race discrimination.'

The lawsuit alleges four employees dressed as Sesame Street characters ignored Quinton Burns, his daughter Kennedi Burns and other black guests during the meet-and-greet on June 18.

'Just looking at her face, it makes me want to cry every time I see it,' Quinton Burns said during a press conference Wednesday.  

The lawsuit comes after a viral video showing two other black girls from New York apparently being snubbed by Rosita during a parade at the park in Langhorne, outside Philadelphia. 

Sesame Place apologized in a statement for that incident and explained that the actor inside the Rosita suit simply couldn't see their daughter due to the costume's limited field of vison. 

The furor triggered more families to come forward with similar experiences.

The lawsuit says 'SeaWorld's performers readily engaged with numerous similarly situated white customers.'

During a press conference held Wednesday, one of the family's attorneys, Malcolm Ruff, called for transparency from SeaWorld and for the company to compensate the Burns family. 

'She was ignored amongst a sea of other young white children who were able to interact, give hugs, high fives,' Ruff said. 

'Kennedi was forced to experience racism at the age of 5. This is unacceptable and we will not stand by and let this continue,' Ruff continued.

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