Jodi Brown, the New York mother of a young Black girl whose high-five was ignored by a Sesame Place mascot in July, and her attorney is considering all options after the CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, which owns Sesame Place, didn’t uphold his commitment to meet with them.
As The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Brown was expecting to sit down with Marc Swanson for a mediation meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 30. The family’s attorney, B’Ivory LaMarr, said in a statement that the chief executive was a no show and instead attorneys and corporate reps greeted them after waiting for hours.
This family is not affiliated with the Baltimore lawsuit against Sesame Place.
Instead, they were preparing to sit down to discuss what occurred. Following the incident, Brown had posted a now-viral video of an employee portraying Muppet Rosita appearing to ignore two young Black girls during a parade. One is Brown’s daughter, Skylar and the other is her niece Nylah, both 6 years old.
According to Brown’s spokesperson, Swanson met with Brown’s legal counsel, LaMarr and Ben Crump, at an Aug. 11 meeting, and he assured them that he was willing to meet with the Brown family. But he did not agree to attend the meditation meeting.
“While he and his corporate executives sat in comfort in the skyline suite, the Brown family stood in the lobby for hours awaiting word as to whether or not they would be heard,” LaMarr said in the statement.
LaMarr said he and the family directed their concerns to the designated reps, but a mediation had not taken place.
“To appease the Brown family and the community at large, we were presented with the illusion that SeaWorld Entertainment wanted to “do right” and mediate the matter; however, what was labeled a mediation this week, shifted to a meeting where the Browns were finally able to voice their concerns and then offered a sandwich and cookies,” LaMarr continued, per the news outlet.
Now, Lamarr says the Browns are “tired of talking.”
In July, another Black family filed a $25 million discrimination lawsuit against SeaWorld Parks, owner of Sesame Place. The suit claims that Quinton Burns and his five-year-old daughter Kennedi Burns were allegedly ignored during a meet-and-greet event on June 18, BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported.
“After nearly two months of engagement, it has become evident and we believe that the leadership at SeaWorld Entertainment does not respect the political power of African-American civil rights leaders and their outreach within the community,” LaMarr said in a release, per CBS News. “We further believe that they do not respect the African-American dollars that help make SeaWorld and Sesame Place profitable.”
Sesame Place has since issued multiple apologies. They also required that all employees complete bias training until the end of September 2022, undergo a racial equity assessment, and participate in a developing anti-bias training and education program.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct that this family is not the Baltimore family that has a lawsuit against Sesame Place.