Umm Safa accuses Chuck E. Cheese ignoring black daughter in viral Twitter post in latest allegation of racial discrimination against black children by entertainment mascots.
And yet another mascot is being accused of racial discrimination…
A mother has accused of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in New Jersey of racial discrimination after claiming a costumed character purposefully ignored her young black daughter as the children’s figure recently greeted children during a recent birthday celebration at the establishment.
The alleged slight occurred on July 30, when Natyana Muhammad took her children to the chain’s location in Wayne, N.J – with claims the employee playing Chuck E. Cheese allegedly ignoring her daughter during a meet-and-greet period.
The incensed mom posted video of the encounter to Twitter which shows the employee walking past as a small child holds her hand out for a high-five. Muhammad wrote of the incident: ‘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.’
PLEASE RETWEET‼️ On July 30 at Chuck E Cheese in Wayne, NJ, my 2yo was racially discriminated against. As you can see, he gives all of the yt kids hi-5s & PURPOSELY ignored my black baby. When confronted, he ignored me as well. The manager, Angie Valasquez, made excuses for him.. pic.twitter.com/QMmE3wmti1
— Umm Safa 🩰 (@belllahijabi) July 31, 2022
‘Who’s next Ronald McDonald?’
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’.
The post elicited a number of responses from commentators, including one who wrote: ‘What is up with all these costume characters being racist towards Black kids? First Sesame Place, them Disney now Chuck E Cheese?!” Followed by a user who penned, “Say it ain’t so. Chuck E Cheese a racist? Who’s next Ronald McDonald?’
The incident comes after a similar episode where two other black girls from New York were apparently snubbed by Rosita at the Sesame Street theme park in Langhorne, outside Philadelphia last month.
But many have questioned whether the alleged acts of racism could instead be chalked up to the fact that staff members are often wearing unwieldy costumes with low visibility – therefore making them unable to see every child reaching out for attention.
The Sesame Street episode nevertheless led to lawyers for one of the slighted families announcing a $25 million lawsuit against the theme park’s parent company.
The Chuck E. Cheese video shows the woman’s daughter popping up and down before attempting to high five Chuck E. The character clearly high fives several other kids before walking past the young girl.
‘When she turned around she was excited to see him, she saw that he was giving all the other kids high fives,’ Muhammad told ABC7. ‘She put her hand out. It was her turn. He just put his hand in and down acting like he didn’t see her.’
Chuck E. Cheese issues vague apology
She then says that the restaurant ‘insisted’ her daughter take a picture with Chuck E.
Chuck E. Cheese released a statement saying, in part: ‘Chuck E. Cheese is 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’.
The company did not appear to suggest that any punishment was in order for the employee or the manager.
Muhammad has since questioned the sincerity of the chain: ‘Gave the onsite management the opportunity to apologize when she said, ‘I’m sorry you feel that way,’ Was that the apology?’
Muhammad recounted how sad her daughter was afterward: ‘Her demeanor changed from she was excited, happy, jumping, high five – to when it was time to take a picture, just stood right beside him.
‘I hugged her, told her that she would never have to beg for love, because she is loved by many.’
Chuck E. Cheese issued the following statement: ‘Our cast members are trained not to initiate physical contact with the children – in case they are afraid of Chuck E.
‘We want to assure our guests that we take great measures to protect the experience all children and families have in our restaurants.’