Sesame Place Announces Diversity Initiatives After Accusations Of Racial Bias & Being Hit W/ A $25 Million Lawsuit 

Sesame Place Announces Diversity Initiatives After Accusations Of Racial Bias & Being Hit W/ A $25 Million Lawsuit


Sesame Place has announced new measures to expand its diversity, equality and inclusion efforts following a class action lawsuit alleging racial bias.

Sesame Place claims that by the end of September, all employees will undergo training and education programs led by national experts. Reportedly, the programs are designed to address bias, promote inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure guests and employees feel welcome. In a statement released Tuesday (Aug. 9), Sesame Place said:

“Initiatives include a comprehensive racial equity assessment, the development and implementation of an anti-bias training and education program, and enhancements to ensure a best-in-class diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) program. The racial equity assessment will include a review of policies, processes, and practices that impact guests, employees, suppliers and the community to identify opportunities for improvement.”

They claim the training will become a regular part of workforce development and will extend to all new employees.

Their statement continued:

“We have already begun engaging with employees, guests, civil rights groups as well as community leaders, and instituted some interim measures at the park while the review proceeds. The actions we are taking will help us deliver on our promise to provide an equitable and inclusive experience for all our guests every day.”
They added,
“We are committed to making sure our guests feel welcome, included and enriched by their visits to our park.”

As you may recall, In July, a now-viral clip was shared online of a black family seemingly being discriminated against while visiting Sesame Place in Philadelphia. In the video, it seemingly looks like the Sesame Place character Rosita purposely ignores two young black girls but instead interacts with the white participants.

Initially following the public outrage surrounding the incident, Sesame Place seemingly tried to deny claims of racism within the park. However, as more videos came out from black families with similar stories, the theme park issued another statement promising to train their staff better.

However, it appears the apology came a little too late. On July 27, the Burns family– a different family than the one seen in the viral video–filed a $25 million class action lawsuit against Sesame Place for the discrimination they allegedly experienced while visiting the park. According to the suit, the Maryland family is claiming that during their own trip to the infamous theme park on June 18, 5-year-old Kennedi Burns, who is black, was purposely ignored by four Sesame Place characters. The suit adds that the characters had no issue interacting with white families/children.

In addition to monetary demands, the lawsuit reportedly asked the court to compel the defendants to issue a formal apology to Black Americans. It also asked the company to conduct psychological screenings to avoid hiring racially bigoted people, provide existing employees with mandatory cultural sensitivity training and hire a national expert to educate them on the history of discrimination against Black people in America.
What are your thoughts on Sesame Place starting a diversity/inclusion training for its employees? Let us know in the comments below!
Authored by: Monique Nicole