A videograb from the viral clip.
Sesame Place, a US theme park based on the childrenâ€™s TV show Sesame Street, has apologised after a viral video appeared to show one of its costumed staff shunning two young Black girls.
The Philadelphia-based Park came under fire over the weekend after digital strategist Leslie Mac posted a video to Twitter from her daughter Paigeâ€™s 4th birthday celebration.
The video shows a performer dressed in a Rosita costume high-fiving other visitors before waving off Paige and her friend when she gets to them.
In a statement posted on Tuesday (19 July), the theme park wrote: â€œWe sincerely apologise to the family for their experience in our park on Saturday; we know that itâ€™s not ok. We will conduct training for our employees so they better understand, recognise and deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience to our guests.â€
The apology comes after the video caught the attention of singer Kelly Rowland. The musician reposted the video to her Instagram Story on Sunday with the caption, â€œOH HELL NAWWWâ€.
Rowland posted a follow-up clip where she said: â€œOK, so had that been me, that whole parade wouldâ€™ve been in flames.â€
In an initial statement posted Sunday evening, the park claimed that costumes sometimes inhibit performersâ€™ sightlines, and that the â€œnoâ€ gesture was a response to people asking the performer to hold their children, which is against park policy.
Rowland responded to this, too, in the comments, writing: â€œThose gorgeous girls will never forget that feeling! THEY ARE KIDS!!!!! You should be ASHAMED of yourselves for this pathetic statement!â€
Following the backlash, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, has promised to conduct bias training with the theme park staff.
â€œWhat these children experienced is unacceptable,â€ the organisationâ€™s statement read.
â€œWe have been in contact with Sesame Place, our licensed park partner, and they have assured us that they will conduct bias training and a thorough review of the ways in which they engage with families and guests.â€