LEGOLAND accused of racial discrimination

Goshen. A recent lawsuit alleges that the park’s costumed characters ignore Black children.

Goshen /
| 09 Jul 2024 | 09:32

Two Black families who visited LEGOLAND in Goshen on June 14, 2022, are accusing the amusement park of racial discrimination. The complaint, filed with the Orange County Supreme Court June 13, 2024, by the attorney representing the families, Darnell Crosland of Crosland Law Group LLC, alleges that, during a dance party and meet and greet, costumed LEGOLAND characters “intentionally refused” to engage with the young children of both Breana Ramsay and Shaquana Johnson-Williams by “refusing to dance with them, and otherwise ignoring them.”

“LEGOLAND New York, by its agents and/or employees, intentionally discriminated against the Plaintiffs and their above referenced minor children based on their race and/or color by intentionally choosing to interact only with white patrons and refusing to interact with the Plaintiffs or their minor children during the performance on their contracts,” the complaint alleges.

Ramsay is from Bridgeport, Conn., and her sister-in-law Johnson-Williams lives in Mount Vernon, NY. In an interview with Connecticut-based news station News 8, Ramsay claimed the costumed characters, “blatantly walked around and decided to interact with children that were not of color.”

Crosland provided video of the costumed characters dancing with white children while walking around Black children, including Ramsay and Johnson-Williams’ children, on his YouTube page.

The complaint argues that, since Ramsay and Johnson-Williams bought tickets to enjoy all the park has to offer, the park’s costumed characters “were obligated to not refuse to, on the basis of race, dance or meet and greet LEGOLAND’s customers.”

Th complaint also alleges that, because of their treatment by the park’s employees, Ramsay and Johnson-Williams’ children “suffered damages to their civil rights, mental health, and personal dignity.”

Ramsay told News 8 that it was a “sad” car ride home that day. “My nephew was like, ‘Why wouldn’t they dance with me?’ and we were trying to explain the situation without making him feel bad.”

In the complaint, Crosland claims that the park was “grossly negligent” by allegedly failing to properly train its employees and managers regarding racial discrimination issues, and also by not taking “sufficient action” to prevent future incidents of racial discrimination from occurring.

The families are suing for damages, plus attorney’s fees, “and other relief as appropriate,” and demands a trial by jury, per the court filing.

In a statement issued to this publication, LEGOLAND said, “We are committed to fostering an open, inclusive, and safe environment where all our guests feel valued. As this matter is currently under litigation, we are unable to provide further details and will respect the legal process.”

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include the date of the filing with Orange County.