Family sues Sesame Place for $25 million for alleged racial discrimination

Sesame Place
(Image credit: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

A family has filed a lawsuit against Sesame Place, accusing the theme park of racial discrimination.

The family of Quinton Burns sued Sesame Place, which is owned by SeaWorld Parks, for $25 million in federal court on Wednesday, alleging "pervasive and appalling race discrimination," The Associated Press reports. The lawsuit came after a viral video showed a Sesame Place performer, in a separate incident, seemingly ignoring two Black children during a parade.

Sesame Place previously apologized to that family, saying what the children "experienced is unacceptable," and promised to conduct bias training for employees. The park said the performer "did not intentionally ignore the girls" in that viral video and gestured "no" in "response to multiple requests from someone in the crowd" asking them "to hold their child for a photo which is not permitted."

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But the new lawsuit filed by a Baltimore family alleged four Sesame Place performers ignored Black guests, including Burns and his daughter, during a June 18 meet-and-greet and that "SeaWorld's performers readily engaged with numerous similarly situated white customers," per the AP. The lawsuit also alleges SeaWorld was aware these four performers "held personal beliefs of racial bias towards Black people," CNN reports.

"We stand here before you today simply trying to fight and protect little Black children and their fundamental civil rights," attorney Malcolm Ruff said during a news conference, according to CBS Philadelphia, which reports the Baltimore family contacted attorneys after seeing the previous viral video showing a similar incident.

Sesame Place in a statement to CNN said it's "committed to deliver[ing] an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience for all our guests."

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