Just weeks after a Black family was ignored by costumed characters during a Sesame Place parade, the same seems to have taken place at a New Jersey Chuck E. Cheese location. Last weekend, Natyana Muhammad, a 29 year old mother from Wayne, posted a video of her two year old daughter Safa attempting to get the attention of Chuck E., a character she had never before seen in person. Despite her enthusiasm, the footage shows the child being blatantly disregarded.
“I stopped recording. I actually tapped Chuck E. on his arm to let him know that Safa was standing right there, and he ignored me,” Muhammad told NBC News.
Muhammad also stated that the mouse didn’t stop by the party’s table at all until he was encouraged by a manager to do so. Yet, he frequently visited the table of a nearby party of white children. After being told that the character simply hadn’t seen the young girl, the manager insisted that the character take a picture with her, but Safa was visibly upset and was no longer interested in a meet and greet.
“You don’t do that,” Muhammad said. “Not only was it unnecessary, it was inhumane to do that to a toddler.”
Safa’s mother is also looking into her legal options, and plans to consult with a lawyer.
Tawan Thompson who was throwing the birthday party for her two year old grandson echoes Muhammad’s telling of the story.
“I don’t know the reason why it happened,” Thompson said. “I don’t know who’s behind that costume and why they did what they did. But it wasn’t pleasant. It wasn’t nice.”
“This is an establishment that’s well-known, that invite people in, that invite children in, and we were mistreated,” Thompson continued. “And no one has responded to that, and no one has given us a reason as to why we were mistreated.”
The Thompson family and party guests have not received a personal apology for the incident. However, a public statement has been released from the corporate office saying that it was “deeply saddened” and thanked the guests for bringing the issue to the attention of the manager.