Emma James, Daily Mail, August 10, 2022
Sesame Place have cancelled character Rosita by banning her from meet and greets and the daily parade after a family launched a $25million lawsuit against the park.
DailyMail.com can reveal that the bilingual Muppet, from Mexico, is slowly being erased from the theme park in Philadelphia, with staff claiming she has been removed in the wake of the controversy.
A mother slammed the character as racist after filming Rosita seemingly ignoring her daughter and niece as they reached out to the character during the parade last month.
The two little girls eagerly reached out to the blue character, who was introduced to expand the diversity of Sesame Street, who was seen shaking their finger at them, before allegedly ‘hugging the little white girl’ next to them.
Multiple buildings with the costume character’s face on them have reportedly remained closed since the incident in July, with staff claiming she has been ‘cancelled’.
Rosita’s Cocina restaurant has reportedly been closed ‘for weeks’ despite the busy summer period.
One staff member told DailyMail.com: ‘With recent events Rosita hasn’t been around much anymore.
‘She’s been taken off the parade entirely since the racism allegations.
‘None of the character’s walk the street in the parade any more, and any meet and greets for her have been called off.
‘That is all because of the allegations, they don’t want anyone potentially making the same claims.
‘Essentially, Rosita has been cancelled and I don’t think she’ll be back any time soon.’
Another said: ‘The Rosita restaurant has been closed for the last few weeks.
‘There hasn’t been a real explanation as to why, but staff are assuming it could be to do with the accusations.
‘The meet and greets have also changed recently but that could also be because of the heat with some other characters.’
The character has not been removed from the latest series of the TV show, which premiered on HBO Max in November last year.
Other staff members claimed that the characters were on rotation for meet and greets, and not all of the characters appear on the parade – including Big Bird.
But on the Sesame Place app any events with Rosita can be found by actively searching her name, with only Meet and Greets for certain characters appearing.
Rosita was one of the only characters who was not included in the daily parade, with staff members adding that the performers were now being told to remain on the floats after the allegations.
Other images of the character have been hidden by the park, with Rosita and Big Bird both being covered with a large purple structure close to a dining hall in the theme park.
Stores selling merchandise of Sesame Street also appeared to have either removed items featuring the character or having less out on display.
An empty basked in one of the stores appeared to be where Rosita figures had been but were now empty.
Mugs and other items also did not feature the character, but it is not clear if she was just not part of the main 2022 branding before the incident.
T-shirts, plush toys and various other items were also all on display for the other characters of Sesame Street, but none of the stores had a Rosita section.
Sesame Place did not respond to requests for comment from DailyMail.com regarding the removal of Rosita, but did confirm a new ‘series of initiatives’.
The park said they will be including a comprehensive racial equity assessment, and developing and implementing an anti-bias training and education program.
By the end of September 2022 they say that all employees will have received the training to ‘address bias, promote inclusion, prevent discrimination, and ensure all guests and employees feel safe and welcome’.
All new employees will also undergo the training, and the assessment will include engagement with both internal and external stakeholders.
In a previous statement the company on Sunday, theme park officials called the now viral moment a ‘misunderstanding,’ saying the mascot likely did not see the girls due to limited vision in the costume’s unwieldy mask.
They said: ‘Our brand, our park and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms.
‘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 park said the actor portraying Rosita – who was not named – ‘did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding.’
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.’
B’Ivory Lamarr, the attorney for the family who have launched a $25million lawsuit against eth Philadelphia based theme park, previously rejected the firm’s explanation.
During a press conference he called the reason that the actor couldn’t see as ‘bogus’, adding ‘this is not about money’.
They are calling for the performed to be terminated, saying it is the only ‘acceptable action’ that the company can take.
Lamarr noted he has received evidence from 25 to 30 other black families of similar incidents at the Sesame Street-based theme park over the years.
Jodi Brown, the mum who filmed the incident, says that her daughter Skylar, 6, has been forced to isolate with her grandmother after the incident which caused her great distress.
The theme park has apologized about the incident since the video was posted over the weekend by Brown – who took her daughter Skylar and niece Nylah, both 6, to the park.
The family is also said to be looking to get the two girls therapy to help them cope with the apparent snub.
Sesame Workshop – which was careful to explain that Sesame Place is a licensed partner – then posted another statement on its social media Monday night.
They wrote: ‘What these children experienced is unacceptable.
‘We have been in contact with Sesame Place, our licensed park partner, and they have assured us that they will conduct bias training and a thorough review of the ways in which they engage with families and guests.
‘We will continue working with our long-term partner Sesame Place to ensure that appropriate actions are taken and that incidents like this do not happen in the future.’