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Sesame Place To Hold Racial Bias Training Amid Discrimination Lawsuit

Sesame Place has announced that a company review and racial bias training will be held after alleged incidents of discrimination.

SeaWorld-owned Philadelphia theme park Sesame Place is facing more backlash after recent incidents of alleged racial bias. On Thursday (August 11), ABC WPVI Philadelphia reported that Seaworld CEO Marc Swanson will meet with Rev. Jesse Jackson and the family of two 6-year-old girls who were seen in a viral video being ignored by costumed character, Rosita, during a July parade. In the clip, Rosita was seen waving off the two girls before proceeding on with the theme park parade.

The meeting comes two weeks after a $25 million class-action lawsuit was filed against SeaWorld Parks, alleging multiple occurrences of discrimination against guests of color. In the federal lawsuit, Baltimore resident Quinton Burns accused several characters of “intentionally” refusing to interact with his 5-year-old daughter, Kennedi Burns, and other Black guests.

On Tuesday (August 9) the park announced that a series of racial bias trainings ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion would be held until the end of September. Developed by multiple civil rights educators, the initiative will be added into company onboarding, as well as becoming an integral part of training and workforce development.

In a press release, Cathy Valeriano, the president of Sesame Place Philadelphia, shared that “some interim measures” would ensue, including discussions with civil rights groups and community leaders.

“The actions we are taking will help us deliver on our promise to provide an equitable and inclusive experience for all our guests every day,” Valeriano wrote. “We are committed to making sure our guests feel welcome, included and enriched by their visits to our park.”

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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Jaelani Turner-Williams

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