PHILADELPHIA — A Baltimore family is suing a Sesame Street-themed amusement park for $25 million for racial discrimination, alleging several costumed characters ignored a 5-year-old black girl at a dating event last month .
The lawsuit follows a video, widely shared on social media, showing two other black girls apparently snubbed by a costumed employee during a parade at Langhorne Park outside Philadelphia. Sesame Place apologized in a statement and promised more training for its employees after the video went viral earlier this month.
The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, was filed in federal court in Philadelphia against SeaWorld Parks, the owner of Sesame Place, for “pervasive and appalling racial discrimination.”
The lawsuit alleges four employees dressed as Sesame Street characters ignored Quinton Burns, his daughter Kennedi Burns and other black guests at the June 18 get-together. The lawsuit states that “SeaWorld performers readily engaged with many similarly situated white customers.”
At a press conference on Wednesday, one of the family’s attorneys, Malcolm Ruff, called for SeaWorld’s transparency and for the company to compensate the Burns family. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.