Sesame Place announces new initiatives to reinforce diversity, equity following discrimination controversy

In the wake of accusations of racial discrimination, Sesame Place announced a new series of initiatives to help address diversity, equity and inclusion. 

The new plan, shared by the Bucks County amusement park on Tuesday, includes a racial equity assessment that will audit current policies and procedures to identify opportunities for improvement. 

Sesame Place officials said by the end of September, all employees will participate in an education program "designed to address bias, promote inclusion, prevent discrimination, and ensure all guests and employees feel safe and welcome." 

The new training program will be incorporated into the park's onboarding of all new employees, according to officials. The initiatives were developed and overseen by a slate of civil rights experts, including Debo P. Adegible, Joseph West, and Sadiqa Reynolds.


"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," said Cathy Valeriano, President of Sesame Place Philadelphia. "We are committed to making sure our guests feel welcome, included and enriched by their visits to our park."

These initiatives come weeks after a video was posted to social media that purports to show Sesame Place character Rosita snub two Black girls. The mother of one of the children claimed the character continued on to high-five white children in the parade crowd. 

The video went viral and elicited three different apologies from Sesame Place. The family, alongside Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump, called for SeaWorld to hold the costumed actor accountable. 

"We will see if Sea World will do the right thing: danger or opportunity," Crump said. "Will Sea World take advantage of the moment; not with words, but with actions."

Soon after, other Black families came forward with videos they said showed their children being ignored by characters at Sesame Place. A Maryland family brought a lawsuit against the park for being snubbed by several characters during a meet-and-greet.