A mall Santa Claus in Georgia who was reportedly fired after a photograph showed him wearing a hat supporting President Donald Trump is speaking out about the experience.
Frank Skinner was “replaced” after he allegedly took a photo with a red MAGA cap shortly before his shift ended at the Mall of Waycross in Georgia, First Coast News reported.
(Video: First Coast News)
Apparently a customer was feeling more like Scrooge and brought the photo, which Skinner said he posted on his personal Facebook page, to the attention of the mall.
“We were not aware it happened,” mall manager James White told the outlet. “It was done completely without our knowledge.”
The management promptly “fired” the 50-year mall Santa veteran, apologizing to customers online as well.
“I just felt like my constitutional rights were being taken away,” Skinner explained.
“It’s safe to say he will not be wearing this hat around here,” White added. “This particular Santa has been replaced.”
“Our kids are our focus and we put a lot of hard work into this. We want children to believe in Santa for as long as they can and the spirit of giving,” he said, not really displaying a spirit of anything but caving into the left.
“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,” the mall posted in response to the complaint from the customer.
But the formerly jolly Santa took to Facebook to tell the “truth” about his “supposed firing” and what happened that night as the mall readied to close.
“There were no children around and on a whim, I decided to switch hats and pose with a President Trump hat. For fun, I took the picture for personal use, with my personal phone. Later, for laughs, I posted it on my personal Facebook page,” Skinner said in his statement.
“I certainly was not trying to create a firestorm by doing that but simply intended to post the photo on my page for a little humor, as I have many friends & family who like me, support our president. I knew they would enjoy the photo and get a laugh,” he said. “Obviously, that turned out to be poor judgment on my part. I didn’t anticipate how upsetting that would be to some members of our community. For that I’m deeply saddened and apologize.”
Skinner believed someone took a screenshot from his Facebook post and shared it with the mall, requesting the cap be removed, something the mall Santa said was “sent out of context as if I wear it all day.”
“The news contacted the mall management for a statement. The statement the mall received claimed I would be replaced and from that point on this all became a massive controversy,” he explained, saying he was “still waiting for an official communication” as he was initially told he was going to “be removed from rotation for a few days to investigate.”
“There has been no official action at this point,” Skinner said, but added that the backlash he experienced as of the original report have been brutal and surprising.
“At the time I thought it was harmless fun. Now I realize in this day and age that I should not have posted it,” he said. “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.”
He assured everyone that there were no children around at the time and that the decision to wear the cap for the photo was his own, as it is “never Santa’s job to bring politics into the fray.”
“I have been a Santa for almost five decades and I have always done my best to be the finest Santa I could be. People who know me know my character. They know that I don’t take my role lightly,” he added, apologizing to the mall management as well while reiterating that he is “willing to accept my responsibility and let the cards fall where they may.”
Skinner also thanked those who came to his defense as he reminded everyone to keep the true meaning of Christmas in mind.
“The outpouring of love I felt was incredibly overwhelming. I am eternally grateful for your unconditional support,” he said. “I did not take any comfort in all this confusion but I certainly found comfort in the support sent my way. This meant more to me then you will ever know!”
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