Kelly Rowland ‘livid’ over Sesame Place theme park video: ‘I would’ve burned the place down’

The park apologised after one of its staff appeared to shun two young Black girls

Kate Ng
Wednesday 20 July 2022 08:24 BST
Sesame Street's Elmo gets Covid-19 vaccine

Kelly Rowland has slammed Sesame Place, a US theme park based on Sesame Street, for its “ridiculous” apology following a viral video.

The theme park in Philadelphia was lambasted after a video that appeared to show a performer dressed in a Rosita costume ignoring two young Black girls who were excited to meet her.

The video, posted by digital strategist Leslie Mac from her daughter Paige’s 4th birthday, caught the attention of Rowland.

The Destiny’s Child singer reposted it to her Instagram Story on Sunday (17 July) with the caption: “OH HELL NAWWW.”

In a follow-up clip, Rowland added: “OK, so had that been me that whole parade would’ve been in flames.”

Sesame Place released a statement apologising to Mac’s family and pledged to carry inclusivity training for park staff.

It said: “We sincerely apologise to the family for their experience in our park on Saturday; we know that it’s not OK.

“We will conduct training for our employees so they better understand, recognise and deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience to our guests.”

But Rowland mocked the apology as “ridiculous” and criticised the theme park for making the young girls “feel like they were just not there”.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonightat the Los Angeles premiere of Nope, Rowland said: “I was livid. And I know, me personally, I would’ve burned the place down. I’ve said it before and I really mean it.”

She continued: “Did you see that ridiculous apology that they had?

“When I saw this and it was an extension of what I grew up learning and loving about Sesame Street and Sesame Place, I don’t know what place this is that I saw.

“It made two beautiful little girls feel like they were just not there.

“I wasn’t trying to give it any more attention. I really wasn’t, but those little girls, they deserve an apology.”

The nonprofit behind Sesame Street also promised to conduct bias training with theme park staff, branding the children’s experience as “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,” it said in a statement.

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