A woman who claims her four-year-old niece was ignored by a costumed character at Sesame Place amusement park because she is black says the family is planning to sue the theme park.
The girl’s fuming aunt, Philadelphia resident Leslie Mac, posted a video on TikTok in which she revealed that the family had retained a lawyer to sue over the incident involving the bilingual Muppet character Rosita.
The theme park has called it a ‘misunderstanding,’ saying the mascot likely did not see the girl, who had been celebrating her birthday at the park, due to limited vision in the costume’s unwieldy mask.
The park also pointed out the masked mascot – who appeared to wave off the girl and friend in now viral footage of the incident – had not waving at the girls but someone else behind them.
The park has since succumbed to an outpouring of social media vitriol and has promised to introduce racial bias training for staffers.
Mac, meanwhile, a self-proclaimed ‘anti-racism trainer’ who was named to Essence Magazine’s list of 100 Woke Women in 2020, took to TikTok Tuesday to slam the park in a series of scathing videos – and reveal the family has retained a lawyer.
A woman who claims her four-year-old niece was ‘ignored’ by a costumed character at Sesame Place amusement park is planning to sue the theme park, saying the slight stemmed from the fact the child is black
‘Hi Friends,’ Mac – who is pals with left-leaning politicians such as AOC and Elizabeth Warren – starts off the self-recorded clip saying, sleepily adding that she has just taken sleep medication before recording.
‘I just wanted to come on – as my Ambien is going to kick in – to just give a small recap of what’s been going on on the internet streets around sesame place and their piss poor behavior toward black children,’ Mac said.
She went on to recap the incident involving young Paige, who is her grandniece, and Paige’s young cousin, who was also slighted by the costumed character in the clip.
‘If you haven’t heard, my great niece held her fourth birthday party at Sesame Place over this past weekend with her friends and their parents – and it didn’t end well,’ Mac said.
She proceed to showed the now-viral clip of the of the incident, which she initially posted on Twitter Sunday.
Mac went on to reveal that she was in talks with the the adult who had reportedly accompanied the two kids on the trip, who she referred to as ‘the mom and aunt of the two little girls in the video.’
‘While they were with a bigger group,’ Mac said, ‘this incident happened specifically to them.’
Mac said she had spoken to the woman, who she called ‘Jodie,’ and said the family were irate over the altercation and were planning to pursue legal action.
Sesame Street has come under fire for the footage posted by Mac Sunday, which shows a character actor dressed as bilingual Muppet Rosita seemingly ignoring Paige and her cousin as they tried to say hello
‘I got to talk to Jodi today, and they’re doing okay and hanging in there, and also really pissed – as they should be,’ she said in the clip, which saw her repeatedly assert the incident’s authenticity and bash detractors who apparently were skeptical to accept the activist’s online claims.
The video saw Mac snap her fingers and suck her teeth while accusing the park of engaging in ‘systemic racism’ – citing other instances of supposed racism from the mascots.
‘I wanted to put all of you charlatans, especially in the New York area, on notice,’ Mac, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, said. ‘This is not a theoretical thing for me.’
She then appeared to threaten those critics with violence, telling them ‘I will fly to Brooklyn to beat your a**, if you try and take advantage of my family – so I just wanted to make sure that’s very clear.
‘I’m from Flatbush and I travel deep, so please don’t try me,’ she added.
‘The next thing I wanna address is the fact that more videos have come out since this video went viral,’ Mac went on, referring to other similar clips that have surfaced seemingly showing Rosita and other mascots at the park appearing to ignore non-white kids.
The fuming mother says daughter Paige, who was celebrating her fourth birthday at the park when the incident occurred, was ignored due to the color of her skin
Sesame Place confirmed the incident occurred in a statement posted to Instagram on Saturday, but said it was a ‘misunderstanding’
‘I think we’re up to like six videos that show blatantly performers at Sesame Place ignoring black children and non white children while giving attention to white children.’
She went on to cite one video that showed one of the costumed characters slapping a young black child in the head instead of giving him a high-five.
‘In one instance, one of the characters slapped a little black boy in the head instead of giving him a high-five,’ the activist said, sarcastically adding, ‘seems systemic – but that’s just me.’
Mac – who in 2019 founded Safety Pin Box, a subscription service designed to instruct white people on how to be allies to black people – went on to say those who do not believe the family’s claims were engaging in white supremacy.
‘I wanna address all of you white devil’s advocate-heada**es,’ Mac said, keeping a playful tone through the clip. ‘The devil does not need any advocates.’
She then questioned why anyone would doubt the family’s claims.
Mac say Paige, her grandnice – was ‘ignored’ by a costumed character at Sesame Place amusement park due to the fact she is black. Mac is a self-proclaimed ‘anti-racism trainer’ who is friends with politicians AOC and Elizabeth Warren
‘Unless you are a stakeholder in Seaworld, which owns Sesame Place, I do not know why you feel the need to invalidate the experiences of young black children who frankly were traumatized by this instance.
‘Your dismissal of their experience is white supremacy,’ she then declared, adding, in a somewhat condescending tone, ‘Don’t do that – do better,’ while authoritatively wagging her finger.
‘I do not have any next steps to share with you – feel free to do what you want. Our family has retained a lawyer, and we’ll be pursuing things that way – so you won’t be hearing much from me except for what you already know.’
‘This aggression will not stand,’ she added.
The family has indeed retained an attorney – enlisting civil rights attorney B’Ivory LaMarr, who said Tuesday that a suit is likely in the cards.
‘While we hate to rush to judgment to consider ‘race’ as the motivating factor to explain the performer’s actions,’ LaMarr told TMZ, ‘such actions both before and after the young girl’s request only lead to one conclusion.’
The supposed slight, which transpired Saturday, was captured on camera by the fuming mom and posted to social media – and has since spawned a swarm of backlash against the Pennsylvania park.
In the nine-second clip, Mac’s daughter Paige and an unnamed friend, both black, extend their arms toward a passing performer dressed as Rosita, a bilingual Muppet character from Mexico.
However, the pair are seemingly rebuffed by the mascot, who wags his finger at another offscreen attendee, who reportedly asked the costumed worker to hold their child.
‘This is how #SesamePlace treated these beautiful Black children,’ Mac captioned the video, which has already garnered more than 7.5 million views.
Onlookers on social media seemed to misconstrue the gesture as being directed at the two girls – a sentiment park brass attempted to clear up in a statement Sunday.
The statement further explained how the costumes sometimes inhibit performers’ sightlines, and that the employee portraying Rosita’s ‘no’ gesture was a general response declining requests to hold kids for photos, which is against park policy.
Staffers called the incident a ‘misunderstanding,’ and said they had addressed the behavior of the employee and spoke to the families involved.
‘Our brand, our park and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms,’ the statement read. ‘That is what Sesame Place is all about and we do not tolerate any behaviors in our parks that are contrary to that commitment.’
‘We also are, and always have been, committed to making sure every family and every child has the best possible experience at our parks and we are incredibly disappointed when that does not happen.’
‘We spoke to the family and extended our apologies and invited them back for a special meet-and-greet opportunity with our characters,’ the statement read.
The park said the actor portraying Rosita – who was not named – ‘did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding.’
Mac has since hired high-powered civil rights attorney B’Ivory LaMarr to oversee a potential discrimination case against the park
The statement alleged Rosita was gesturing ‘no’ to another guest who had requested they hold hold their child for a photo, ‘which is not permitted.’
The park also said the mascot likely did not see the girls due to limited vision in the costume’s unwieldy mask, which ‘sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels’ leading actors to occasionally ‘miss hug requests from guests.’
‘We apologize to these guests for not delivering the experience they expected and we commit to do our best to earn their and all guests’ visit and support,’ the statement concluded.
Mac, however, was unconvinced by the claims, taking to Twitter Monday to claim she has not heard from anyone from the park since the incident.
‘You know what would be great?’ the mom wrote. ‘If instead running around putting PR fires out – it would be amazing if @SesamePlace & @sesamestreet spoke DIRECTLY WITH THE EFFECTED FAMILIES b4 making decisions about what is needed.’
She has since hired high-powered civil rights attorney LaMarr to oversee a potential discrimination case against the park.
LaMarr, who specialized in civil rights cases, told TMZ Sunday that a lawsuit from the family is likely in the cards – and that his team is currently ‘investigating’ the case.
Mac, meanwhile, told the outlet she was ‘completely appalled’ by the actions of the mascot – whom she claims verbally told the kids ‘no’ during the exchange.
The video was met with outrage online, including from famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump who said the actor’s ‘disgusting behavior’ was ‘absolutely heartbreaking.’
The outraged mother posted the clip online after she allegedly tried to address the interaction with park staff.
‘I’m going to keep posting this, because this had me hot,’__jodiii__ wrote.
‘We were on our way out of sesame place and the kids wanted to stop to see the characters. THIS DISGUSTING person blatantly told our kids NO then proceeded to hug the little white girl next to us!
‘Then when I went to complain about it, they looking at me like I’m crazy. I asked the lady who the character was and I wanted to see a supervisor and she told me SHE DIDNT KNOW!! I will never step foot in @SesamePlace ever again!
She encouraged her followers to repost the video, before adding: ‘Actually run me my money back.’
The mom said she was ‘so mad’ she stopped recording the video so soon, but attributed the abrupt stop to her anger.
‘So mad I stopped the video but it got me so mad when he blatantly told them no,’ she concluded.
__jodiii__ did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Video shows the girls reaching out for Rosita as the character makes her way through the Sesame Place amusement park in Philadelphia
Rosita is seen high-fiving another guest while the girls stick their hands out towards her
Rosita gestures ‘no’ towards the girls – a motion the park says was actually being made towards another guest
The outraged mother claims the actor then proceeded to ‘hug the little white girl next to us’ after having ignored her daughters
However, the park’s statement was not taken kindly to online.
Singer Kelly Rowland, of Destiny’s Child, slammed the park, saying: ‘Those gorgeous girls will never forget that feeling! THEY ARE KIDS!!!!! You should be ASHAMED of yourselves for this pathetic statement!’
‘It CLEARLY shows he said no to someone else then proceed to say NO to the little girls opening their arms for a hug,’ model Gabriela Clesca Vallejo responded.
‘Stop lying we’re not stupid the video shows it all. These little girls will never forget this awful moment.’
Love & Hip Hop cast member Melissa Scott added: ‘This a BOLD FACE LIE! The character LITERALLY waived their hand above that little girl and said NO.’
The park’s statement was not taken kindly to online
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump even joined in the conversation, sharing the video on his own Twitter feed
‘RACI$T!! Take accountability!!!!!!!’ echoed rapper Yung Miami. ‘SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!?’
‘This is a horrible answer to our questions. Nope,’ rapper Jojo Simmons said. ‘But she saw the other kids she hugged next to them?’
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump even joined in the conversation, sharing the video on his own Twitter feed.
‘This is absolutely HEARTBREAKING!’ he wrote. ‘These two young Queens did NOT deserve to be blatantly singled out and ignored by this #SesameStreet character!’
‘@SesamePlace MUST address their staff’s disgusting behavior!’