Black family sues Sesame Place for $25 million for racial discrimination

PHILADELPHIA — A Baltimore family is suing a Sesame Street-themed amusement park for $25 million over racial discrimination claims after multiple costumed characters ignored a 5-year-old black girl at a meet-and-greet event last month.

The lawsuit comes in the wake of a video, widely shared on social media, that shows two other black girls apparently being snubbed by a costumed employee during a parade in the park in Langhorne, outside of Philadelphia. Sesame Place apologized in a statement and promised more training for its employees after the video went viral earlier this month.

The lawsuit, seeking class action status, was filed in federal court in Philadelphia against SeaWorld Parks, the owner of the Sesame Place, for “comprehensive and appalling racial discrimination.”

The lawsuit alleges that four employees dressed as Sesame Street characters ignored Quinton Burns, his daughter Kennedi Burns and other black guests at the June 18 meet-and-greet. The lawsuit says that “SeaWorld’s artists easily came into contact with numerous similar white clients.”

At a news conference held Wednesday, one of the family’s attorneys, Malcolm Ruff, called for transparency from SeaWorld and the company to compensate the Burns family. The suit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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