Whoopi Goldberg says she reached out to Sesame Street over Sesame Place viral video: 'What the hell?'

·4 min read
Whoopi Goldberg says she reached out to Sesame Street over Sesame Place viral video: 'What the hell?'

Whoopi Goldberg is sharing her thoughts on the viral video and subsequent controversy that took place at Sesame Place over the weekend.

Goldberg, who has done a lot of work with Sesame Street in the past, told her co-hosts on The View on Wednesday that she has reached out to them after an incident at the Philadelphia amusement park where two Black girls were seemingly ignored by a performer in a Rosita costume, and she didn't mince words with them.

The video of the incident shows the two children in question waiting for a Rosita actor to walk by them during a parade at the Sesame Street-themed amusement park on Saturday, only to be apparently waved off and given a "no" signal when they went in for hugs. After the video gained traction online, the park first stated that the Rosita actor said that the "no" hand gesture "was not directed to any specific person, rather it was a response to multiple requests from someone in the crowd who asked Rosita to hold their child for a photo which is not permitted," and that the performer "did not intentionally ignore the girls."

Whoopi Goldberg during the Tribeca Talks at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival at Regal Battery Park Cinemas on September 12, 2019 in New York City.
Whoopi Goldberg during the Tribeca Talks at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival at Regal Battery Park Cinemas on September 12, 2019 in New York City.

Dominik Bindl/Getty Images Whoopi Goldberg says she reached out to 'Sesame Street' over the recent Sesame Place viral video: 'What the hell?'

The family has since hired a legal team and called for the actor, who has not been named, to be fired. Sesame Place later issued another apology and promised to do better with plans to "conduct training for our employees so they better understand, recognize, and deliver an inclusive, equitable, and entertaining experience to our guests."

After showing the audience on The View the video, Goldberg explained first that Sesame Place is a licensed park partner of the non-profit Sesame Workshop, while the park itself is owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. "And if you think they did not catch hell for what was done, it's crazy. The two little girls are six year olds, they are cousins, and Rosita was their favorite character," she said, while co-host Sunny Hostin interjected to say what bothered her was the park's initial reaction and the fact that other videos emerged showing that "Rosita seems to be a repeat offender."

Several of the co-hosts agreed the performer should be fired.

"If you have to teach inclusion and how to treat a young child, they need to be in another job," said Sara Haines. Added co-host Lindsey Granger, "What bothers me the most is that it started from 'we didn't see them' to now 'we're doing diversity and inclusion training.'"

At this point, Goldberg jumps in. "Well, I'll tell you why that's happened, because I talked to the people at Sesame Street. Okay. Because I work with them a lot, and I said, 'What the hell?'"

The Oscar winner continued, "And basically they said, 'Listen. We're all over this because our characters — the children must feel like these characters are the characters they expect them to be. So, we're all over this.'"

"So I suspect a lot of what they're going to be doing, all the diversity training, all that stuff, is coming from Sesame Workshop saying, 'Oh no. Whoever is dealing with these characters, they're going to have the information they need. We're sorry we have to talk to you like this, but clearly you need to understand you can't do that for kids.'"

The segment ended with several of the hosts expressing that they would "bring the thunder" down on the park, if the incident happened to their children, and reiterating their feelings that the Rosita performer (who Joy Behar joked was really "Mel Gibson") should be fired. "Well, before you fire 'em, teach them why they're being fired, and then let them go. You have to teach people," Goldberg concluded.

Watch the full segment on YouTube below.

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