Can you tell me how to get…how to get to… a courtroom?
Well, that’s what the folks over at the SeaWorld-owned Sesame Place will ask, now that they are facing a class-action lawsuit for alleged racial bias.
On Wednesday (July 27), Baltimore-based law firm Murphy, Falcon & Murphy announced the lawsuit yesterday. This comes after several videos went viral, showing costumed employees intentionally ignoring Black kids lining up to greet them on multiple occasions.
How It Started
The above viral video, originally posted by IG user @__jodii__, shows her two daughters being refused a hug by an employee dressed as “Rosita.” The employee then proceeds to hug a white child next to them. Initially, Sesame Place explained that the snub was not intentional. However, several other videos surfaced that showed multiple Black kids being snubbed by several employees on multiple occasions. As WPVI-TV in Philly reported, the lawsuit that Sesame Place’s parent company, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc., “engages in pervasive and appalling race discrimination against children in the operation of Sesame Place Philadelphia.”
The suit claims that Sesame Place employees violated Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which protects people against racial discrimination in the creation and enforcing of contracts. When tickets were purchased by the family of 5-year-old Kennedi Burns, who the law firm is directly representing and was featured in a separate video, they entered a contract with the amusement park. When Burns was turned down by several employees in character, the contract was “breached, solely because of the race of the children.”
The suit is seeking over $25 million in damages.
In a statement to WPVI, Sesame Place said the following:
“We will review the lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Burns. We look forward to addressing that claim through the established legal process. We are committed to deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience for all our guests.”
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