Sometimes, the things we do as kids seem perfectly normal until we look back at them as adults and realize that they're actually pretty weird. Going to the mall around Christmas to sit on a random man's lap and tell him what presents you want is one of those things. Even more so if this man was photographed pretending to grope a woman and drinking from a flask. A B.C. mall Santa was fired in Penticton after the shopping centre received a complaint about some strange photos that had surfaced on Facebook.
According to NEWS 1130, Gary Haupt lost his job as a Santa Claus impersonator along with a $5,000 contract after someone discovered some photos of him on Facebook.
Haupt, who looks like a perfect real-life Santa, was photographed in one photo pretending to grab a woman’s breasts and in another sipping from a flask. It’s unclear if he is actually sipping from the flask or not.
When asked about the photos, which were taken on his personal time in his home, Haupt told NEWS 1130 that it was simply a joke between himself, his partner, and his partner’s friend.
He explained that a group of women at the mall asked him to take jokingly scandalous photos last year where he pretended to spank them. He agreed to take the photos then, and he and his partner decided to have an at-home photoshoot of a similar nature.
According to Vancouver is Awesome, the faux St. Nick said this would have been his second year playing Santa at the mall. He explained that back when the women asked to be pretend spanked, he and the event manager had a conversation, agreeing that that sort of thing wouldn’t happen on mall property anymore.
After his contract was renewed for the 2019 holiday season, Haupt looked forward to another year of doing what he loved.
The photos that got him fired were taken on his personal time and away from mall property. Still, the mall received a complaint in which someone emailed the photos.
The man’s partner, Sharon Nichols, posted in a popular local Facebook group asking her community for input. “It has come to my attention that 'Santa' has been terminated from his contract with the Mall due to pictures that were taken on his personal time and posted on Facebook that someone deemed inappropriate.”
She continues to say that “all was done in good fun with permission of all participants.” She then asks what everyone thinks.
The post was also shared in another group, “Penticton Area Rant & Rave” where tons of community members shared their outrage at the situation and support for Gary.
Though the situation may seem strange, many of Gary's supporters don't think it's cause for dismissal.
There are tons of holiday markets and Christmas events happening around B.C., so you can expect to see Santas everywhere you look. If you were planning a road trip to Penticton to see the mall Santa, you may be out of luck.