Sesame Street Accused Of Racism After Parade Video Surfaces

Sesame Street is being accused of racism after an incident with a character and two children at a parade over the weekend.

By Doug Norrie | Published

sesame street racism

Sesame Street is running into some online backlash this week after a video surfaced from one of its theme parks which has caused quite the stir online. Sparking comments about Sesame Street racism, the video shows two little girls seemingly being ignored and passed over by one of the characters in a Sesame Place Philadelphia parade. The video garnered attention on Instagram and even had the folks at Sesame Street responding to racism claims by posting both apologies and statements about the policies for their performers. 

The post claiming Sesame Street racism came originally on Instagram (via RadarOnline) from a mother named Jodi. In the video posted on Instagram over the weekend, two little girls are standing on the curb during a Sesame Street parade.  They both reach out their hands to get a high five or hug from a passing character. The costumed worker seems to have a hand “no” at the request and move on. Jodi, the mother of the two girls posted that the Sesame Street Rosita character then went on to hug the next girl in line (off camera) who was white. It went viral there and then gained traction on Twitter when it was posted by Leslie Mac, a digital strategist. You can see the encounter which is leading to calls around Sesame Street racism below.

The backlash to this Sesame Street racism encounter was quick and severe. The company quickly took to Instagram to address what might have happened and their policy around what happens in parades and with their employees. They also went on to clarify some of the issues a performer might have when seeing everyone involved, especially young children at an event like this. Check out the Sesame Street response to the possible racism incident and what they are doing to try and ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.

For the most part, this is a pretty standard response from Sesame Street regarding claims of racism. They say they are working to ensure all customers and visitors to Sesame Street entities are treated equally across the board. Then the folks at Sesame Street work to clarify some of the possible logistics around the encounter which could point to it being a mistake or misinterpretation of what was happening.

They say the costumes do make it hard to see some children lower to the ground. And regarding the hand gesture which makes it look like Rosita is waving off the two girls, the park folks claim this was in response to another (separate) request about holding hands for a picture with the character. Sesame Street says this wasn’t racism, but rather a company-wide policy around interaction. 

But for some, this response wasn’t good enough and they demanded a stronger stance from the company. This all comes from Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit that helps run these events and is the larger entity behind the show. Sesame Street responded to these additional calls around racism by pinning this Tweet to their account.