When the Mall of America hired Larry Jefferson—an African-American man—to portray Santa Claus, its leadership predicted backlash. They were right.
Almost immediately, MOA social media users voiced their opinions, Many were harsh. The online dialogue became so threatening, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reportedly shut off its comments section on the story.
Looks like we had to turn comments off on story about Mall of America’s first black Santa. Merry Christmas everyone!https://t.co/BQVm24DH6y
— Scott Gillespie (@stribgillespie) December 2, 2016
Even though much of the racist rhetoric captured headlines, most of the online comments were positive and support Jefferson and MOA.
Some made fun of the backlash:
Watching people meltdown over a Black Santa in the Mall of America. “Santa is white!” Well, in our internment camp he was Asian. So there.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) December 3, 2016