'We wholeheartedly apologize': Sesame Place issues new statement to family of girls in viral video

Sesame Place offers a fresh apology for an incident that occurred at the Bucks County park over the last weekend, in which two girls wave at Sesame Place character "Rosita" and appear to be ignored by that character.

Sesame Place said, in part:

"We sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize to the Brown family for what they experienced. To be very clear, what the two young girls experienced, what the family experienced, is unacceptable. It happened in our park, with our team, and we own that. It is our responsibility to make this better for the children and the family and to be better for all families."

The video surfaced July 17, after Jodi Brown, mother of one of the girls, posted it on her Instagram account, alleging the character ignored the girls because they are Black. The mother stated the character went on to hug other children in the area.


The video has since been viewed more than 825,000 times on Instagram since Brown posted it on her personal page.

The theme park issued an apology on Instagram, saying, "The performer portraying the Rosita character has confirmed that the ‘no’ hand gesture seen several times in the video was not directed to any specific person, rather it was a response to multiple requests from someone in the crowd who asked Rosita to hold their child for a photo which is not permitted."

The apology was not well received, and more families began coming forward with allegations and videos alleging similar experiences at the park.

In a second apology, the theme park said it would conduct training for employees to deliver a more "inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience" to guests. 

On Wednesday, Jodi and Nylah Brown were present at a press conference with their attorney B'Ivory Lamarr and activist Tamika Mallory of Until Freedom.

Thursday, the park went on to say:

"We have been in contact with the family since Sunday morning and we remain in contact through their lawyer Mr. LaMarr. We have offered to meet the family and their attorney in person, as early as today, to personally deliver an apology and an acknowledgement that we are holding ourselves accountable for what happened. We want to listen to them to understand how the experience impacted their family and to understand what we can do better for them and all guests who visit our parks. We are committed to learning all we can from this situation to make meaningful change. We want every child who comes to our park to feel included, seen and inspired.

We are taking action and are reviewing our practices to identify necessary changes, both in the immediate and long-term. We are instituting mandatory training for all of our employees so that we can better recognize, understand, and deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience for all our guests. We have already engaged with nationally recognized experts in this area.

We take this extremely seriously; we are heartbroken by what these young girls and this family experienced in our park. It is antithetical to our values, principles and purpose. We are committed to working tirelessly and intentionally to make this situation better. We will do the necessary work for the long haul -- not just in the public eye, but also behind the scenes and within ourselves."