A man who has played Santa Clause in a New Zealand Christmas parade for years on end has been sacked over “inappropriate” comments about women.
Last week, the man who runs a Santa recruitment and training agency, claimed he wouldn’t ever hire a woman to play Santa Clause as it wouldn’t be authentic.
The New Zealand resident told the publication women are only employed as Santa’s little helpers arguing that men wouldn’t be made to wear a skirt and top.
However, what he may have thought was a seemingly innocent comment has landed him in hot water and ended in his dismissal from the annual Christmas parade.
The organisation that runs the much-anticipated festive event announced to the New Zealand Herald that Neville’s comments were “inappropriate” and they had chosen to hire a different Santa.
“We are distancing ourselves from this company,” Chairman of the Children’s Christmas Parade Trust Michael Barnett told the publication.
“We found his comments to be inappropriate and unnecessary and will not be using their services for the parade.”
The decision sparked quite a bit of debate online with many furious Neville was ditched, while others praised the parade for saying farewell to the man who has played Santa for the past five years.
“Our world is so broken. Everyone is so sensitive these days. In our country a man has just been sacked as he will not hire woman [sic] to play Santa Claus at Christmas events. What next? An uproar if a woman fails to get cast as Jesus in a play? Not sexism. Reality,” one person wrote.
Our world is so broken.
Everyone is so sensitive these days.
In our country a man has just been sacked as he will not hire woman to play Santa Claus at Christmas events.
An uproar if a woman fails to get castas Jesus in a play??
Not sexism. Reality. ????♂️
— Brofessional ✌️ (@SportsBrofessor) November 24, 2018
“Latest idiocy from Auckland, Santa getting sacked because he said a woman could not be Santa. What next, a man playing the Virgin Mary?” another added.
While a third said: “Not only did he say women can’t play Santa, he compounded the sexism of that remark by saying gender fluid trans women can’t be Santa’s helpers. Not only should he be sacked, he should be prosecuted under discrimination laws. And jailed”.
Not only did he say women can't play Santa, he compounded the sexism of that remark by saying gender fluid trans women can't be Santa's helpers. Not only should he be sacked, he should be prosecuted under discrimination laws. And jailed.
— carol mcallister (@carolmcalliste2) November 24, 2018
However, despite the organisation’s announcement, Neville told the New Zealand Herald he hasn’t heard from parade officials about the decision and will still be attending the parade as Santa.