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Sesame Place CANCELS Latina character after black family sued over 'racism'

"With recent events, Rosita hasn’t been around much anymore. She’s been taken off the parade entirely since the racism allegations."

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Sesame Place has reportedly canceled Rosita, the bilingual Muppet character from Mexico by removing her from the daily parade as well as meet and greets after a black family sued the amusement park for $25 million.

According to the Daily Mail, buildings in the theme park with the character’s face on them have remained closed since July. Rosita’s Cocina restaurant has also reportedly been closed "for weeks" despite the high summer traffic.

One staff member told the Daily Mail, "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 characters walk the street in the parade anymore, and any meet and greets for her have been called off."

The actions were reportedly taken following a mother alleging the character was racist after she filmed Rosita ignoring her daughter and niece as they attempted to get the character’s attention during a parade at the theme park last month. The two girls reached out in excitement to the character, who moved past them and allegedly hugging a white girl next to the two girls.

The outlet claimed that the character’s presence is being slowly removed from the Philadelphia theme park following the alleged incident and subsequent lawsuit.

The staff member told the Daily Mail it is all "because of the allegations, they don’t want anyone potentially making the same claims. Essentially, Rosita has been canceled and I don’t think she’ll be back any time soon."

Another employee told the outlet, "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."

Additionally, staff members claimed that the costumed performers were now being told to remain on the floats.

According to the outlet, images of the character have been hidden or covered and an empty basket in one of the stores where Rosita figures had been now lie empty. Though T-shirts, toys, and other items were on display for the other characters of Sesame Street, none of the stores had a Rosita section.

The character remains in digital content on HBO Max.

According to the New York Post, Sesame Place is launching a new "series of initiatives" including a comprehensive racial equity assessment, in addition to developing and implementing an anti-bias training and education program.

The park is aiming that by the end of September 2022 all employees will have received the training to "address bias, promote inclusion, prevent discrimination, and ensure all guests and employees feel safe and welcome," with all new employees being required to undergo the training.

Following the allegations, theme park officials called the incident a "misunderstanding," and claimed the mascot likely did not see the girls due to limited lines of sight in the costume's mask which "sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels" causing actors to occasionally "miss hug requests from guests."

They added that the actor portraying Rosita "did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding." Still, the family is calling for the actor to be terminated, saying it is the only "acceptable action" that the theme park can take.

The statement continued, "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 alleged that Rosita, who was seen wagging a finger in the video, was gesturing "no" to another guest who had requested they hold their child for a photo which is not permitted according to the theme park’s policies.

Officials at the park added in the statement, "We spoke to the family and extended our apologies and invited them back for a special meet-and-greet opportunity with our characters."

B'Ivory Lamarr, the attorney for the family who have launched the lawsuit, previously rejected the company’s explanation. At a press conference, he called the explanations "bogus" adding "this is not about money" and claimed he has evidence from 25 to 30 other black families of similar incidents at the theme park.

Jodi Brown, the mother who filmed the incident, claimed her daughter Skylar, 6, has been forced to isolate with her grandmother after being caused great distress and that the family is exploring getting the two girls into therapy.

Sesame Workshop posted a statement on its social media in July, saying, "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."

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