Mom speaks out after she says Chuck E. Cheese character in New Jersey ignored daughter

Darla Miles Image
Monday, August 1, 2022
Mom speaks out after she says Chuck E. Cheese ignored daughter
A family says a character ignored their Black daughter who was invited to a birthday party at the Chuck E. Cheese on Route 23 on Saturday. Darla Miles has the story.

WAYNE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A family is speaking out after they say a character at Chuck E. Cheese in New Jersey ignored their 2-year-old and the apology they received fell short.

"In the video there were a bunch of Caucasian children who were there on stage that received a high five," mother Natyana Muhammad said. "My Black child was the one being ignored."

There are two videos that appear to show Chuck E. Cheese ignoring Safa Muhammad. The 2-year-old was invited to a birthday party at the Chuck E. Cheese on Route 23 on Saturday.

One video shows the character give three high-fives to other kids, but leaves Muhammad hanging.

"When she turned around she was excited to see him, she saw that he was giving all the other kids high fives," Muhammad said. "She put her hand out. It was her turn. He just put his hand in and down acting like he didn't see her."

The 2-year-old kept trying.

"She even went around him to continuously give him a high five, like OK, do you see my hand," Muhammad said. "It's not just that he ignored my daughter, we were at a birthday party so he didn't acknowledge the table we were at either."

The incident comes on the heels of two similar incidents at Sesame Place in Philadelphia. In both instances, little girls of color were dismissed by costumed characters.

In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News, Muhammad said the experience was beyond hurtful - especially as a first-time mom.

"She's so sweet, she's so cool, she's so smart," Muhammad said. "And that was actually my first time witnessing someone ignore her or make her feel like she's invisible."

Chuck E. Cheese released the following statement:

"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. 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."

"Gave the onsite management the opportunity to apologize when she said, 'I'm sorry you feel that way,' Was that the apology?" Muhammad said.

The 29-year-old mother says she did complain to management who arranged a picture with Safa.

"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," Muhammad said. "I hugged her, told her that she would never have to beg for love, because she is loved by many."

ALSO READ | Family files lawsuit against Sesame Place, alleging racial discrimination

Malcolm Ruff, one of the attorneys, said they are representing a different family than the one seen in the most recent viral video.


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