Children-themed parks and restaurants are meant to bring joy and happiness to the kids who go. Unfortunately, there has been some underlined discrimination going on for years that has finally gotten exposed thanks to social media. Parents have been sharing videos of character actors displaying questionable behavior towards children simply looking to connect with their favorite characters. Even worst, some places are being exposed for even worst behaviors, from old food to bad business practices.
Chuck E. Cheese is a popular chain geared towards kids. They are known for their arcades, animatronic characters, and pizza. Fans of the franchise have pointed out for years that something was up with their pizza. Photos uploaded to social media show a strange consistency; the crust in the pizzas never seems to line up. As if the slices all came from different pies.
Popular internet personality Shane Dawson decided to launch an “investigation” into this, posting a video online trying to uncover why Chuck E.’s pizza looks so suspicious. Popular fan theories have existed online for over a decade, accusing the chain of using leftover pizzas to form new pies after customers leave. While there is no hard proof, the images certainly look like they are pieced together pies. The official Chuck E. Cheese Twitter account responded to these claims saying, “absolutely not. These claims are unequivocally false. We prep the dough daily for our made-to-order pizzas, which means they’re not always perfectly round, but they are still great tasting.”
In 2019, Chuck E. Cheese was accused of hiring racist character actors much like the ones who recently came under fire at Sesame Place. According to BET.com, “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.” The character can be seen hugging several other children who were white while ignoring Damon’s daughter. Damon can be heard in the video asking, “do you see her!?” but the actor continued to turn away.
In 2020 it was speculated that the chain was going under after eagle-eyed observes noticed a change in their branding on GrubHub. Chuck E. Cheese was appearing as Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings on several sites and seemed to be distancing themselves from their famous mouse mascot. The company clarified that Pasqually was a different pizza from the signature Chuck E. Cheese pie and was geared more towards adults. Some felt the quiet rebrand was just a way to attract new clients during the pandemic. The company confirmed this as they were on the brink of bankruptcy.
Chuck E. is back in the news this week for yet another case of discrimination against a black family. A New Jersey family claims that an actor in a Chuck E. Cheese costume ignored their daughter after she held her hand out for a high-five. Several other kids were given fives, and all of them were white. “When she turned around, she was excited to see him; she saw that he was giving all the other kids high-fives,” Natyana Muhammad said. “She put her hand out. It was her turn. He like put his hand in and then down, and acted like he didn’t see her.” The family said it was not just the high-five that was off; the character seemed to also ignore their entire table. “We were at a birthday party, so he didn’t acknowledge the table we were at either,” said the girl’s mother.