Jan. 29, 2014
A topic that no one wants to approach.
One way of looking at it is:
"“Naughty” Joke To Adults Get's Beloved Macy's Santa Fired"
or another headline on the same story:
"Bad Santa Fired From Macy's Over Lewd Joke | The Stir"
Two different headlines on the same story. This happened back in 2010 and was perhaps a bit of an over reaction on the part of the adults involved (No children were present or privy to the joke telling) and also of that on the part of Macy's but it is a problem that is growing.
The Santa involved with the first example was John Toomey told a joke to the adult couple that had asked "Why are you always smiling?" His reply was "I know where all the naughty girls and boys live." Macy's pulled John out of the chair before the next break. No hesitation on the part of the employer to get that Santa out of their building once they had a customer complaint. This is after working the same location for 20 years.
John after he appeared on the "Tonight Show" and shared his story was later hired by the Pub "Lefty O'Doul's" where John collected over 10,000 toys for the children of his city and also earned much more money than he ever did working for Macy's. A small silver lining. Sadly John Toomey passed away in July of 2011. Age 69
In 2013 we had:
"Man arrested, banned from playing Santa, after Hanover Mall incident"
"Herbert Jones, 62, now faces indecent assault and battery after cops say he got handsy with Santa’s Little Helper, leaving the teen in tears as she recounted what had happened to detectives, The Smoking Gun reports.
Which even if he did not do what he is accused of here, means he has to fight the case in court, then find a new venue to perform in and on top of that, has lost an entire season over what was possibly a bad act of judgement.
"Winterport lawmaker fired as Bangor Mall Santa after saying 'I don't give a damn'"
"Joe Brooks, who had been working as Santa six days a week since Nov. 15, said he was very upset when he was fired by two female representatives of Noerr Programs Inc., which operates shopping center photo services nationwide. They called him during his evening break, he said.
“At about 6 o’clock I got a phone call from corporate headquarters in Colorado. Two women called me and said they were relieving me of my duties,” he said by cellphone Friday. “When I asked them, ‘Why?’ They said they were not going to tell me. I said, ‘This is a pretty serious matter, relieving Santa Claus five days before Christmas.’”"
"“They said, ‘Two weeks ago you were apprised of a complaint. This is a continuation of that,” the four-time state representative, now an independent, said. “They would not tell me what it [the complaint] was in reference too.”
"Brooks said the only thing that he can think of that could possibly have led to a complaint was a conversation he had with a staff member about three weeks ago during which he said, “I don’t give a damn.”
“Yes, I was in the kiosk and I probably should not have used that word,” Brooks said. “It was a private conversation. I didn’t think twice about it.”
What is the point of all of this? Simple. We need to become more aware of the things we say and the way we conduct ourselves in the public eye. Especially in the High Volume Venue such as a Mall or BPS.
We are products of our upbringing and what was acceptable in the 70's and 80's as we grew into adult stature has become criminally actionable and socially unacceptable in the middle of the 2010 decade. As we have seen, the telling of an off color joke can now have major consequences. The act of touching anyone without their express permission is equally actionable. There is no such thing as a private conversation while you are dressed as Santa and in the public view at any time.
There is a reason for wearing white gloves while taking pictures. That is so your hands can be seen and you have proof you had not touched anyone inappropriately during the picture taking process.
Now we need to be just as aware of what we say and the context it is being said in if you wish to avoid the problems these recent cases have brought to light. At the least they can result in a reprimand all the way to losing your season and criminal prosecution
Always remember you are there to bring Joy and Fun to those that visit with you. You having "fun" is not part of the Job description. If you can not enjoy working this type of venue, then it is not for you and you should seek other venues to play the role of Santa such as home visit, Corporate event or the new emerging Video Chat visit with Santa that has begun.
For those that say "Bah! I will say what ever I chose! It is a free country and I know how to be Santa!" this blog is for you!
May your season be Joyous!
No one special