An angry father is calling out a Chuck E. Cheese in Metairie, Louisiana, for alleged racist behavior after sharing a heartbreaking video of his young daughter, who is Black, being ignored for a hug by the title character.
In the video, the employee inside the Chuck E. Cheese costume seems to purposely overlook the 3-year-old girl begging the mouse for a hug but then chooses to hug other white children around her.
Damon Payne, the father of the girl in the video, said he took his daughter Dynver to Chuck E. Cheese on Monday to celebrate her birthday, WDSU reports.
You can hear Payne in the video telling the employee, “You don’t see her? She’s right here.”
Payne posted the video to Facebook and Instagram 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.”
Payne said he brought the employee’s actions to the attention of the manager and then showed the manager the video. Payne said the manager offered his family 50 free tickets to redeem at the store’s shop, which he said only insulted them further.
On Tuesday, Payne said a different manager contacted him and said that the company’s policy is for the character not to initiate contact with a child.
A representative from Chuck E. Cheese issued the following statement following the incident:
“Our cast members are trained not to initiate physical contact with the children- in case they are afraid of Chuck E. We want to assure our guests that we take great measures to protect the experience all children and families have in our restaurants.”