Mall Yanks Santa for Posting Photo in MAGA Hat: ‘He Will Not Be Wearing This Hat Around Here’
A mall Santa Claus in Waycross, Georgia caused a Kringle kerfuffle when was pulled from duty this month, after a photo he shared on Facebook made it back to mall management. And the incident has caused a bit of outrage on social media and a flood of negative comments on the mall’s Facebook page.
Frank Skinner, who has played Santa for 50 years, shared the photo of himself wearing a MAGA hat on his own Facebook page. “It really was an innocent thing. It really was,” he told Jacksonville, Florida station WTLV. When that photo got back to the mall, it cost him his gig.
The mall quickly responded when a customer submitted the image and complained online. “We apologize for this occurrence and will be addressing this right away. The Mall at Waycross does not support any specific political party. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Kindly, Mall Management.”
Mall manager James White told WTLV that the posing of the photo was “done completely without our knowledge” but promised that it won’t happen again. “It’s safe to say he will not be wearing this hat around here. This particular Santa has been replaced.”
“Santa” Skinner responded on his own Facebook page as the story began to spread.
“I would like to address the truth as to what happened at the Mall of Waycross concerning me and the photo taken with a President Trump hat on, and the subsequent supposed firing,” he began.
“Supposed firing” is in reference to the fact that, while he was replaced at Waycross, he says he wasn’t exactly “fired” from his job as Santa, at least not yet.
“When I spoke to the Mall management they advised me that I would be removed from rotation for a few days to investigate. Then I read the statement made by the Mall Management to the news and gathered I had actually been fired,” he wrote on Facebook. “I was just as confused as everyone else as to what was going to happen next. I’m still waiting for an official communication. Together we trying to discern what’s appropriate going forward. There has been no official action at this point.”
He clarified several times that he did not take the photo at the request of any parents or children, but just as a gag for his friends, to be posted on his personal page. An action he says he regrets and for which he apologized.
“I in no way meant to cause anyone discomfort,” he wrote. “At the time I thought it was harmless fun. Now I realize in this day and age that I should not have posted it. Obviously it did offend some folks. I can assure everyone that was not my intent. I have learned a lot from this. Going forward I will keep this in mind.”
The mall has been receiving negative “reviews” on their facebook page relating to the story.
Though nearly all those comments have been critical, there are those even on the right who are arguing that such a display was, in fact, out of line and even that if one opposes Colin Kaepernick‘s protesting on the NFL’s time and facilities, then that standard should also apply to mall Santas in MAGA hats.
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