A family in Louisiana is calling out Chuck E. Cheese for alleged racist behavior after an employee in costume as the restaurant chain’s iconic character appeared to ignore their daughter, who is Black, but greeted and hugged the other kids.
Damon Payne filmed his 3-year-old daughter, Dynver, trying to hug and greet Chuck E. multiple times on their visit to the restaurant in Metairie on Monday (Nov. 25) in celebration of her birthday.
In the video the employee dressed as the mouse character can be seen turning away several times and hugging the other children around him, who Payne said were all White, WDSU reports.
“You don’t see her?” Payne can be heard asking the employee, WDSU reports. “She’s right here.”
After their visit, Payne posted the video to Facebook with the caption, “MY KIDS WILL NEVER STEP FOOT BACK IN Chuck E Cheeses. #racismdoesntcarewhatage. Please do me a favor share this and tag anybody with power she didn’t deserve that. That’s at the one in Metairie,” WDSU reports.
Payne was further dismayed when he showed the manager the video and was only offered 50 free tickets to redeem at the store’s shop.
The following day, on Tuesday (Nov. 26), a different manager contacted him and said the company’s policy is for the character not to initiate contact with a child, WDSU reports.
“Our cast members are trained not to initiate physical contact with the children - in case they are afraid of Chuck E.,” a representative from Chuck E. Cheese said in a statement, WDSU reports. “We want to assure our guests that we take great measures to protect the experience all children and families have in our restaurants.”