A New Jersey mom has called out Chuck E. Cheese, saying her little girl, who is Black, was snubbed by a mascot at the self-proclaimed “place where a kid can be a kid.”
“This is getting out of hand!!!” the mother tweeted about Saturday’s incident, sharing a video of her child being ignored by an employee in a mouse costume.
In an interview with ABC 7 New York Monday, Natyana Muhammad said all of the white children received attention, while her 2-year-old daughter was blatantly passed over.
“There were a bunch of Caucasian children who were there on stage that received a high five,” Muhammad told the local news outlet. “My Black child was the one being ignored.”
“It’s not just that he ignored my daughter,” she added. “We were at a birthday party, so he didn't acknowledge the table we were at either."
On Sunday, Muhammad uploaded the video of her daughter, Safa, at a Chuck E. Cheese in Wayne, New Jersey. In the footage, which has been viewed nearly 3.5 million times, Safa is seen jumping up and down in a white and pink dress in front of a stage, several feet away from the costumed mascot at the family-friendly pizza shop.
The performer walks toward the stage, giving multiple children standing up there high-fives. The character then turns toward Safa and appears to look down at her as she excitedly holds up her hand to give him a high-five, but he just stands idly by before turning back towards the stage and waving at the children there.
“On July 30 at Chuck E Cheese in Wayne, NJ, my 2 [year-old] was racially discriminated against,” Muhammad wrote on Twitter. “As you can see, he gives all of the [white] kids hi-5s & PURPOSELY ignored my black baby. When confronted, he ignored me as well.”
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
In her tweet, Muhammad said she spoke with the manager, who made excuses for the mascot.
In a follow-up tweet with an image of her daughter appearing to stand uncomfortably next to the Chuck E. Cheese mascot, Muhammad wrote, “One picture is worth a thousand words. After the managers defended his case on ‘not being able to see her,’ and apologizing, they still insisted on Safa taking a picture with him. I wasn’t for it but Safa was still innocently following him around—of course, unaware of what just happened.”
In the interview with ABC 7, Muhammad said her daughter is “so sweet” and “so smart.”
“And that was actually my first time witnessing someone ignore her or make her feel like she's invisible,” she added.
The Daily Beast was unable to reach the Wayne location for comment. Chuck E. Cheese corporate responded with a statement, saying it was disheartened with the situation.
“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 at our Wayne, NJ location and for giving the onsite manager an opportunity to apologize and address their concerns in person,” the statement read.
“As home to millions of families and kids every year that celebrate the big and small milestones, including fun, our goal is to create an inclusive experience for children and parents of all ages, races, ethnicities, religious backgrounds, and learning differences. Our mission is to provide a fun and a safe place Where A Kid Can Be A Kid, and all cast members are trained to ensure that we live up to this promise.”
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