A longtime mall Santa Claus at the Mall of Waycross in Georgia has been “replaced” after he was photographed wearing a hat supporting President Donald Trump.
Frank Skinner, a 50-year Santa veteran at malls was fired after he took a picture while on duty wearing a red baseball cap that showed his support for the president in 2020, per First Coast News in a piece published Wednesday. (RELATED: Celebrate Anna Kendrick’s Birthday With These Unforgettable Looks)
Mall manager James White told the outlet that the retailer was unaware of jolly old Saint Nicks’ public display of his politics. (RELATED: Alyssa Milano Says ‘The Red MAGA Hat Is The New White Hood’)
“We were not aware it happened,” White shared about the picture posted on Facebook and shared by hundreds of people in the in the area. “It was done completely without our knowledge.”
“It’s safe to say he will not be wearing this hat around here,” he added. “This particular Santa has been replaced.”
White continued, “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.”
Skinner has since told his side of the story with a post on his Facebook explaining that it “really was an innocent thing. It really was.”
The mall Santa said that when he did it the place was closing and no children were around when he decided to switch hats and pose with the Trump hat.
Frank shared that he thinks someone saw the photo on his personal FB and notified the mall.
“I just felt like my constitutional rights were being taken away,” Skinner explained.
In lengthy post on FB the longtime Santa shared that he never meant 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 and family who, like me, support our president.”
“I in no way meant to cause anyone discomfort,” he added. “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.”