Woody and Jessie from Toy Story went out of their way to greet black kids at Disney World after controversies over costume mascots from Sesame Place and Chuck E. Cheese were accused of racism over claims that they ‘ignored’ them.
A father-of-two who brought his children to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando this week shared the video on TikTok, showing a crowd of black kids begging for Woody and Jessie to come toward them after both characters greeted a circle of young fans.
Jessie was preoccupied with one part of the crowd when Woody came up to her to point in the direction of the black children on the other side of the circle, seemingly requesting her to go up to them and to show them some love.
Much to young fans’ delight, the costumed mascot went up to them before giving a black girl a big hug. Woody joined Jessie moments later, ending up exciting the kids even more.
‘WOODY FOR THE WIN,’ the caption of the TikTok video read.
A father of two who brought his children to Disney World in Orlando this week shared a video on TikTok of a crowd of black kids begging for Woody and Jessie to come toward them after both characters came about to greet a circle of young fans
The adorable moment comes after several costumed characters at certain theme parks and restaurants were accused of racism by intentionally ‘snubbing’ black kids.
The mascot for a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Wayne, New Jersey accused of snubbing a black child on July 30 during a meet-and-greet period became the latest costumed character to be accused of racism.
Natyana Muhammad, the little girl’s mother, posted a video of the interaction on Twitter which shows the mascot walking and greeting children while her small child holds her hand out for a high-five.
‘My 2-year-old was racially discriminated against,’ Muhammad wrote of the incident. ‘As you can see, he gives all of the [white] kids [high fives] and PURPOSELY ignored my black baby.’
Muhammad, who goes by Umm Safa on Twitter, claims when she confronted the person playing the musical mouse, he ignored her and the restaurant’s manager, who she named as Angie Valasquez, ‘made excuses for him.’
Chuck E. Cheese also released a statement following the incident saying it’s ‘saddened when any family or child has a less than perfect experience.
‘We want to thank the family who brought this to our attention … and for giving the onsite manager an opportunity to apologize and address their concerns in person,’ it added.
The mascot for a Chuck E. Cheese location in New Jersey has become the latest mascot to be accused of racism
The incident allegedly occurred on July 30, when a woman who goes by the name Umm Safa took her children to the location in the North Jersey town of Wayne
She posted a video of the encounter to Twitter and wrote: ‘My 2-year-old was racially discriminated against. As you can see, he gives all of the [white] kids [high fives] and PURPOSELY ignored my black baby’
She then says that the restaurant ‘insisted’ her daughter take a picture with Chuck E. Cheese
The incident took place at long-running location of the restaurant chain in Wayne, New Jersey, one of just 612 left
One family also alleged four employees dressed as Sesame Street characters ignored Quinton Burns, his daughter Kennedi Burns and other black guests during the meet-and-greet on June 18.
‘Just looking at her face, it makes me want to cry every time I see it,’ Quinton Burns said during a press conference announcing a $25 million lawsuit against the theme park’s parent company.
The video opens with the costumed characters dancing in a parade as the employee dressed as the Telly Monster walked over to wave and shake the hands of several children.
Among the kids in the group was Kennedi, who tried reaching out to the character before he walked away and waved his hand to other spectators. Kennedi then turns around to her father with a big frown on her face.
Moments later, an employee dressed as Ernie was seen greeting the same group, but also stops just short of shaking hands with Kennedi.
After the incident, Sesame Place explained that the alleged snubbing was not intentional and that the employees in these incidents simply can’t see everyone due to the costume’s limited field of vision.
Quinton Burns, left, spoke of his anguish Wednesday as he filed a lawsuit claiming daughter Kennedi, right, was ignored by characters at a Sesame Street theme park parade because she is black
The lawsuit comes in the wake of a video, shared widely on social media, showing two other black girls from New York apparently being snubbed by a costumed employee during a parade at the park in Langhorne, outside Philadelphia
The furor triggered more families to come forward with similar experiences.
A similar incident occurred when two other black girls from New York were apparently snubbed by Rosita at the Sesame Street theme park in Langhorne, outside Philadelphia.
The lawsuit filed by the Burns family seeks class action status, was filed in a federal court in Philadelphia against SeaWorld Parks, the owner of the Sesame Place, for ‘pervasive and appalling race discrimination.
The lawsuit also states that ‘SeaWorld’s performers readily engaged with numerous similarly situated white customers.’
During a press conference held Wednesday, one of the family’s attorneys, Malcolm Ruff, called for transparency from SeaWorld and for the company to compensate the Burns family.
‘She was ignored amongst a sea of other young white children who were able to interact, give hugs, high fives,’ Ruff said.
‘Kennedi was forced to experience racism at the age of 5. This is unacceptable and we will not stand by and let this continue,’ Ruff continued.
Sesame Workshop – which was careful to explain that Sesame Place is a licensed partner – then posted another statement on its social media Monday night
Sesame Place responded to the lawsuit in a statement sent to Eyewitness News, saying: ‘We will review the lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Burns. We look forward to addressing that claim through the established legal process. We are committed to deliver an inclusive, equitable and entertaining experience for all our guests.”
The suit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus reportedly asked for a meeting with leadership at a Sesame Street theme park after video showing a costumed character waving off two six-year-old black girls during a parade went viral.
Jodi Brown, the mother of one of the girls, first shared the nine-second video clip last weekend, showing the Sesame Place character Rosita high-fiving a white child and woman, then gesturing ‘no’ and walking away from the two black girls who had their arms out for hugs.
Black Caucus members are seeking a meeting with the theme park’s general manager Cathy Valeriano to ‘discuss the changes, plans of action, and training the park plans to implement,’ Fox News reporter Chad Pergram said on Saturday.
The caucus said: ‘Over the past week, we’ve seen multiple glaring examples of racism coming from the park, including the viral video in which two beautiful little black girls were blatantly rejected by a character they idolized while white children were embraced.’
On Saturday, Brown appeared on MSNBC and said she rejected the apologies that had been issued by Sesame Place, the theme park outside Philadelphia.
‘I don’t believe it was genuine, I believe they were just putting out statements due to how viral the video has gone,’ Brown said.
Brown’s attorney B’Ivory Lamarr appeared alongside the mother and reiterated his threat to sue the theme park and demand that the unidentified employee in the Rosita costume be fired.
Sesame Place confirmed the incident occurred in a statement posted to Instagram on Saturday, but said it was a ‘misunderstanding’
In a statement on Sunday, theme park officials called the now viral moment a ‘misunderstanding,’ saying the mascot likely did not see the girls due to limited vision in the costume’s unwieldy mask.
‘Our brand, our park and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms,’ the statement read. ‘That is what Sesame Place is all about and we do not tolerate any behaviors in our parks that are contrary to that commitment.’
‘We also are, and always have been, committed to making sure every family and every child has the best possible experience at our parks and we are incredibly disappointed when that does not happen.’
‘We spoke to the family and extended our apologies and invited them back for a special meet-and-greet opportunity with our characters,’ the statement read.
The park said the actor portraying Rosita – who was not named – ‘did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding.’
The statement alleged Rosita was gesturing ‘no’ to another guest who had requested they hold hold their child for a photo, ‘which is not permitted.’
The park also said the mascot likely did not see the girls due to limited vision in the costume’s unwieldy mask, which ‘sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels’ leading actors to occasionally ‘miss hug requests from guests.’
‘We apologize to these guests for not delivering the experience they expected and we commit to do our best to earn their and all guests’ visit and support,’ the statement concluded.