Law firm files class action lawsuit against Sesame Place following claims of racial bias

This story originally appeared on 6abc

A Baltimore-based law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against Sesame Place after another family said they were treated unfairly due to the color of their skin.

The Wednesday afternoon announcement from attorneys with Murphy, Falcon & Murphy comes following outrage over a viral video that appears to show the costumed character, Rosita, snubbing two young Black girls during a parade at the park.

The nine-second video, posted to Instagram on July 16 by Jodi Brown, the mother of one of the girls, showed Rosita high-fiving a white child and woman, then gesturing “no” and walking away from the two girls who had their arms stretched out for a hug and high-five during a parade at Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.

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But Malcolm Ruff, one of the attorneys, said they are representing the Burns family, a different family than the one seen in the most recent video.

Ruff said 5-year-old Kennedi was visiting Sesame Place with her family on June 18 when the same thing happened to them. Ruff said there is a video of the incident, but it has not yet been released.

The lawsuit alleges that SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. engages in pervasive and appalling race discrimination against children in the operation of Sesame Place Philadelphia.

They also say Sesame Place broke a contract with parkgoers who purchased a ticket, and it violated the Burns family’s civil rights.

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During an interview with Action News on Saturday, Cathy Valeriano, the president and general manager of Sesame Place, said the park has been looking at its internal practices, both immediate and long term.

“We are heartbroken as an organization that these girls experienced this and that’s on us,” she said.

Valeriano said the performer in the Rosita costume has not worked since July 16.

Action News has reached out to Sesame Place in regard to the most recent filing, but we have not yet heard back.

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