The Reverend Jesse Jackson got in on the Sesame Place shakedown over the alleged snubbing of black children by the park’s characters, calling for big changes in a letter to the company’s CEO including hiring more black executives, setting aside money for African American businesses and conducting cultural sensitivity training.
In his letter to CEO Marc Swanson of SeaWorld which is the parent company for the Philadelphia-based theme park, the 80-year-old civil rights activist, political gadfly and former Democrat presidential candidate criticized the company for not “providing solutions” to remove the stain of racism, providing a list of his own suggestions along with a lecture to the executive over the park’s practices.
Sesame Place found itself in the center of a firestorm of outrage after a video was posted of an employee dressed as the popular Rosita character appearing to ignore two young black children who wanted a hug along with blistering social media posts from the girls’ mother and aunt.
Subsequently, attorneys were able to find additional “victims” of alleged racism who came forward with their own accounts of snubbing in favor of white kids and the inevitable lawsuits.
#BabyPaige & her cute lil friends went to @SesamePlace this weekend to celebrate Paige's 4th birthday & this is how #SesamePlace treated these beautiful Black children. I'm HOT. pic.twitter.com/wATjpRzUF1
— Confident and she lethal (@LeslieMac) July 17, 2022
“In our fight for freedom and equality, we have seen this recent incident with Sesame Place too many times to remember. Yet, one thing is for certain – without sincere action from corporations, discriminatory acts always return,” Jackson said in his letter. “Sesame Place, which is owned by SeaWorld has not provided solutions that I trust will eradicate the culture that has stained this theme park with discriminatory practices. We need SeaWorld to take a stance against past practices and do what is necessary to end discriminatory acts at their theme parks.”
“When I saw the now-viral video shared by Jodi Brown, I was shocked but unfortunately not surprised,” he wrote. “We have watched discrimination in the form of excessive force by the police, just as we have seen wrongful hiring practices, but to see discrimination against our innocent children is a line that we cannot allow the enemies of progress to think that they can cross. We must collectively let SeaWorld and other companies know that we will not accept racism against anyone and certainly not our innocent children.”
Jackson then provided Swanson with a list of his own suggestions that “can turn this negative situation into a positive,” including the funneling of money to black businesses, changing hiring practices, adding black directors to the board, “doing right” to those who were allegedly harmed and bringing in an African American firm to conduct cultural sensitivity training for all Sesame Place staff.
Jackson’s entry into the fray comes after the Democratic Party’s Congressional Black Caucus requested a sit-down with Sesame Place Park President & General Manager Cathy Valeriano to discuss changes as well as a plan of action to address the alleged discriminatory treatment of black children.
Twitter users reacted to the news of Jackson’s insertion of himself into the situation, the latest racial grievance grift of his long career.
Here comes the grifter
— SJH (@SjhStacy) July 30, 2022
He also wants a few millions, like that classy family.
— Hairlem1 (@Hairlem1) July 30, 2022
@RevJJackson must sense there is a payoff he can cash in on, trying to beat out @TheRevAl, grifters can always be counted on to keep grifting.
— Dr. Scot (@slraider) July 30, 2022
Of course he doesn’t go to city’s with high murder rates but sesame place is right up his alley he heard millions
— William j Mason jr (@WilliamjMasonj3) July 30, 2022
The man can hardly stand up or walk but he knows a payday when he sees one
— itsstillred (@itsstillred) July 30, 2022
And Al Sharpton won’t be far behind
— Josie Bishop (@Josieviskup) July 30, 2022
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