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Whoopi Goldberg has a long relationship with Sesame Street, so it was no surprise that she defended the celebrated children's program after a viral video showed Black children being ignored by Rosita, a popular character, at the Sesame Place theme park in Pennsylvania.
The women of The View discussed the controversy on Wednesday morning, but while her co-hosts were critical of Sesame Workshop, the company behind Sesame Street, Whoopi stood by them, saying, "If you think they did not catch hell for what was done, it's crazy."
After the video went viral, Sesame Place initially said the actor in the Rosita costume couldn't see the young Black girls, but the theme park has since issued an apology and promised to better train employees to "deliver an inclusive, equitable, and entertaining experience."
"If you have to teach inclusion and how to teach a young child, they need to be in another job," said Sara Haines, as Joy Behar insisted the park is "not vetting [employees] properly."
"What bothers me the most is that it started from 'we didn't see them' to now 'we're doing diversity and inclusion training," added guest co-host Lindsey Granger.
VIRAL VIDEO LEADS TO SESAME PLACE CONTROVERSY: After an incident at Sesame Place where two Black girls were seemingly ignored by a performer, the nonprofit Sesame Workshop issued an apology and said it will conduct bias training – #TheView panel reacts. https://t.co/3b0Kghv3gr pic.twitter.com/6pwABliOKj— The View (@TheView) July 20, 2022
Before Granger could continue, Whoopi jumped in, clearly miffed from a morning of sparring with Granger over politics. "Well, I'll tell you why that's happened," said Whoopi, shooting daggers across the table. "Because I talked to people at Sesame Street. Okay?"
The audience let out an uncomfortable laugh at her sudden intensity, but she didn't let up. "You know, I do a lot of — I work with them a lot. I do a lot of stuff. And I said, 'What the hell?'" continued Whoopi. "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 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.'"
Despite Whoopi's intensity, the discussion ended up on somewhat of a lighter note when Sunny Hostin joked that she would "bring the thunder" and sue the park if this happened to her children.
"Who is Rosita? Who's in that costume?" she added, to which Behar replied, "Mel Gibson."
Mel Gibson!? pic.twitter.com/ec2Jhmxnt6— 𝐉𝐨𝐲 𝐁𝐞𝐡𝐚𝐫 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐧 ☭ (@BuzzKillBehar) July 20, 2022
As if Sesame Place doesn't have enough to worry about right now.
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.