Larry Jefferson-Gamble may have the bushy white beard and eyebrows, old-fashioned granddad spectacles and warm smile but that wasn’t enough to satisfy many who were upset at the ‘non-traditional’ depiction of Father Christmas.
A retired veteran of the United States army, Jefferson-Gamble has been dressing up as Santa since he was 12, so experience is not the problem. Many complaining online felt this was political correctness gone too far.
@USATODAY This is so stupid. Tell them to do the first woman Santa next to prove how non-sexist they are. Smh.
— Andrew Donchez (@andrew_donchez) December 2, 2016
— Sean Jensen (@seankjensen) December 4, 2016
People are upset about Mall of America having a Black Santa but Santa is based off St Nicholas and he’s Turkish so he’s not even white
— Gabriella ✊? (@GabriellaZGreen) December 4, 2016
Jefferson-Gamble himself isn’t letting the critics get to him, insisting he “ignores the negativity” and surrounds himself with “positive and energetic people.”
“As I portray Santa Claus I’ve got to be around happy people who want to celebrate the holidays – whether it’s Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Ramadan or Merry Christmas,” he said.
“People who are negative about it, I don’t pay any attention.”