The parent company of children’s indoor arcade and amusement park Chuck E. Cheese will roll out company-wide cultural sensitivity training.
CEC Entertainment LLC made its Aug. 8 announcement in light of a viral video where a Chuck E. Cheese character in Wayne appears to have ignored a 2-year-old girl, who was Black, and went on to give attention to several white children.
“We take every guest experience seriously and, considering the recent event in Wayne, N.J., are taking steps to review our training and protocols and implement any necessary adjustments to ensure positive experiences for all our guests, starting in Wayne, N.J., and continuing at the rest of our locations throughout the United States,” the company announced.
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Two-year-old Safa Muhammad can be seen in the video trying to get the attention of a Chuck E. Cheese character.
“When she turned around she was excited to see him, she saw that he was giving all the other kids high fives,” Natyana Muhammad, the child’s mother, told ABC7 New York. “She put her hand out. It was her turn. He just put his hand in and down acting like he didn’t see her … She even went around him to continuously give him a high five, like OK, do you see my hand. 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 similar events at another regional children’s attraction, Sesame Place in Philadelphia where little girls of color dismissed by characters in costume also sparked viral videos.
CEC Entertainment announced that President and Chief Executive Officer David McKillips will visit Chuck E. Cheese’s Wayne location on his “Listening and Learning Tour,” which he began shortly after joining CEC in early 2020. McKillips and other members of the leadership team will discuss current performance, the recent incident and the company’s plans for improving the guest experience.
Kanarys, the company’s Dallas-based DE&I partner, will facilitate employee engagement sessions this week and will enhance Chuck E. Cheese’s culture and sensitivity training for all employees. The initiative will be implemented first in Wayne and the surrounding locations before expanding across all U.S. locations.