PENTICTON (NEWS 1130) – It seems some people think a mall Santa in Penticton was just a little too “racy.”
Gary Haupt says he was let go from his job as a fake St. Nick in his second year, losing a $5,000 contract after someone found photos of him online.
Last year, Haupt, 69, says he was asked by a group of women to snap a photo with them as Santa when at the mall. The women wanted the photo to appear as if Santa was spanking them.
Haupt says he agreed to take the photo.
Then, about two weeks ago, Haupt says he, his partner, and a friend took pictures at home, in which he appeared to be touching one woman’s chest.
“I don’t find them dirty, it was my partner who took the pictures. We were all laughing, we all know each other, it was not a big deal – but it was to someone,” he says.
The most recent photo taken was last Saturday at a local Christmas market where another woman asked him to pose, pretending to drink out of her flask.
“I posted that picture as well, that’s because I’m old and stupid,” Haupt says. “I kind of think everybody wants to see these things.”
Not everybody, apparently.
Haupt says he is not mad at the person that turned him in, adding, “I think people should be allowed to complain.”
But he does have a problem with the way mall management dealt with the complaint.
Haupt believes management should have stood up for him, since most of the photos were not “mall business.”
On Facebook, his partner has created a post which has gained traction from the public, asking others to boycott and sign petitions.
While Haupt is out of work at the mall, he does continue to be Santa in other locations around Penticton.