This year, the Mall of America decided to buck an age-old trend by hiring someone different to play Santa Claus during its insanely busy Christmas season.
Shoppers were presented with a black Santa, played by a U.S. Army veteran from Irving, Texas, named Larry Jefferson.
Jefferson, who served during the Gulf War, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, that the kids he sees every day aren't bothered by the color of his skin.
But now they've had to disable the comments section on their article due to some serious racism.
As it turns out, many fully grown adults can't deal with a different-looking Santa Claus. Raw Story was able to pull some very telling comments from other sites:
Some of the Facebook comments were pretty bad as well:
Patrick Tolemy wrote:
"So instead of leaving cookies and milk in a dish, should mommy leave watermelon and a chicken leg?
Then added this comment:
Netta Hoke Being Santa Claus is actually the perfect job for a black guy, he gets to sit around on his butt for 364 days out of the year. Lazy black men are probably fighting to get this civil service spot. No qualifications necessary - just sit back and enjoy the ride. Hopefully, black Santa won't be getting out of bed late and spoiling all the children's Christmases."
Another man, John Smith was also in denial:
“NOPE!! Sorry, St. Nicklaus is white.”
Panos Peete blamed “politically correct” culture for Jefferson's position at the mall:
“Oh great trying to be all political correct.. Maybe we offer it free pictures to looters.. Lol”
Regardless of the mean-spirited comments, Jefferson and those who have been to see him aren't letting them ruin their fun.
Jefferson will continue to make children smile at the Mall of America despite his anonymous internet critics, telling the Star-Tribune:
“What [children] see most of the time is this red suit and candy. [Santa represents] a good spirit.
I’m just a messenger to bring hope, love and peace to girls and boys.”
Shanene Herbert, director of Project SPIRIT, an after-school program for black children that aims to teach about black culture through positive role models, told the Star Tribune:
“Kids only see one image of Santa. Even though he’s a fictional character, he could be any color, any race, any gender. This is an image of him too.”
Jefferson hopes one day he will be invited to the White House by President Obama, or President-elect Donald Trump if he reaches out.