Bad Santa: suspended for telling children about Newtown shootings
A British Santa has been suspended from his job after he allegedly told children about the US school massacre and that he was not really Father Christmas.
The man, who worked on a freelance basis at a garden centre in Oxford for 10 years, is alleged to have made the remarks to the children of Wendy and Steven Kennett.
I was totally furious. I now had three children in floods of tears.
They had taken their children Ryan, 10, Amy, seven, and Katie, six, to the centre on Saturday - paying £5.99 (more than $9) for each child to meet Santa.
But Wendy Kennett told the Oxford Mail that Santa started talking about the Sandy Hook School shooting after the children had told him they had been good.
She said he replied: "Well there are bad people in the world and bad things happen, like what happened to those children in America," before Steven Kennett stopped him.
It was then that Santa asked to talk to Ryan alone and after a chat, he ran out crying "Santa told me he is not real, it's just you and dad".
Wendy Kennett said: "I was totally furious. I now had three children in floods of tears."
A spokesman for the garden centre confirmed the family had complained about the remarks.
"This man was a freelancer and he has been suspended from his job for the season," he said.
"He has worked for us for 10 years without any complaint and we will be sitting down with him in the future to discuss the incident.
"At the end of the day the customer is upset. We have apologised for that and we have taken steps and the family have been kept informed."
He added the garden centre had arranged for the family to go to London to visit the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland attraction.