Death and taxes used to be the only two certainties in life—but no matter how much progress it feels like we’re making sometimes, the sad fact is you can probably slide racism into that list, too. Are we in a moment of uprising that feels like it has the potential to create real, systemic change? Yes. Do people and organizations still show their ass on a daily basis? Oh, most definitely. And to keep tabs on all that ass-showing, we’re pleased to present our semi-regular racism surveillance machine. Stay woke, and keep your head on a swivel out there.
Dave Chappelle was right. (Not about that. Never about that.) The legendary comedian who refuses to bite his tongue told us two decades ago, during his 2000 HBO standup comedy special, Killing Them Softly, that Sesame Street was sus. Namely, he joked about how the show taught kids to treat certain people like shit, word to Oscar the Grouch. Recently, it appears, Chappelle’s bit played out in spectacularly face-palming fashion.
Over the weekend, footage of an employee at Philadelphia’s Sesame Place dressed as Rosita—the show’s first bilingual Muppet—made its rounds for all the wrong reasons. In the video, the costumed individual can be seen giving high fives to children in their vicinity, only to seemingly dismiss and wave off two young Black girls who were visibly excited to meet a real-life Muppet.
Obviously, the mother of the two girls wasn’t happy. She posted footage of the snub to Instagram.
"I’m going to keep posting this, because this had me hot,” she wrote in the caption of the clip, which she posted on Saturday. “We were on our way out of sesame place and the kids wanted to stop to see the characters. THIS DISGUSTING person blatantly told our kids NO then proceeded to hug the little white girl next to us!"
She added: "When I went to complain about it, they looking at me like I’m crazy. I asked the lady who the character was and I wanted to see a supervisor and she told me SHE DIDNT KNOW !! I will never step foot in @sesameplace ever again! And please feel free to repost this. Actually run me my money back."
The mom—who has since lawyered the fuck up—wasn’t the only person who was up in arms about the ordeal. Attorney/civil rights advocate Benjamin Crump weighed in on the situation before reposting a video that only expands the scope of this conspiracy. In that clip, you can see other Sesame Place muppets seemingly ignoring Black children.
Believe it or not, it gets worse. Yesterday, TikTok user @frobabies posted a clip of a Sesame Place employee dressed as Honker inexplicably rushing and knocking over a small Black child.
In two separate statements, the folks at Sesame Place offered a free meet-and-greet for the two girls who were curved by Rosita, apologized, and denied that the Muppet’s interaction with the children was racially motivated. They also indicated that the park will conduct bias training.
"Our brand, our park and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms," the statement reads. "We do not tolerate any behavior in our parks that is contrary to that commitment.”
Nice try, but we know better. (So does Kelly Rowland.) Who's the grouch now?