Santa Claus was not particularly jolly, at least for one night in England.
A man playing Santa at a Christmas event in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire, tore off his beard and cursed at children, according to onlookers, after a smoke machine at a nearby "rave" event set off the fire alarm and forced an evacuation. While parents and children were already leaving, he reportedly yelled at people to "get the f—k out."
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The Guardian reports:
The incident took place on Sunday in the town’s Corn Exchange building at an event organised by Festival Event St Ives (FESt), a local non-profit group. It was advertised as a chance to see Santa and his "chief snowman" in the buildup to Christmas and was run separately to the rave.
Santa saw red after the smoke alarm went off. As families were hastily told to evacuate the area, onlookers said he began to behave "very strangely".
He is reported to having ripped off his costume and started swearing at the crowd of about 50 children. DJ Stuart Wilkin said Santa was "raging" as he encouraged the children, who were already on their way out, to evacuate.
He added: "I do think though the reason Santa was raging was because they booked a kids’ rave on the same day as kids going to see Santa upstairs above the event.
FESt, the group putting on the event, sought to spin the incident as Santa trying to assist in the safe evacuation of the building. It apologized for any "offense or distress" caused.
A mother told a local news outlet that her friend was forced to tell her children that the Santa in this case was not the real Santa and was going on the "naughty list," according to CNN.