SeaWorld’s Sesame Place Philadelphia Accused of Discrimination

A Maryland family has accused Seaworld’s Sesame Street-themed amusement park in Philadelphia of “pervasive and appalling” discrimination in a federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

Quinton Burns filed a lawsuit amid a viral video on social media of employees dressed as Sesame Street characters ignoring two Black girls.

The costume character performers dressed as “Elmo,” “Ernie,” “Telly Monster,” and “Abby Cadabby” from Sesame Street refused to interact with the Burns family, “ignoring them and all other black guests in attendance”.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Malcolm Ruff, one of the Burns family’s attorneys, urged transparency from SeaWorld and to compensate the Burns family.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against SeaWorld Parks, the owner of Sesame Place, for “pervasive and appalling race discrimination.” 

“SeaWorld had actual knowledge that John Does 1-4 held personal beliefs of racial bias towards black people and that John Does 1-4 had the propensity to discriminate against black people based on their race or color,” the filing says.

Sesame Place apologized in a statement on Twitter and promised to conduct training for its employees.

“We sincerely apologize to our 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,” Sesame Place Philadelphia said in a tweet.

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