Penticton Western News letter to the editor

Letter: ‘Naughty’ Santa needs to do some reflecting

“The actions represent sexism and violence towards women.”

I wanted to make a few comments about the naughty Santa who has garnered so much attention in the media for his dismissal from Cherry Lane Shopping Centre.

While his actions would have been considered humourous at a private party, once those pictures were posted on a public domain website the context of the pictures take on completely different meaning.

The actions represent sexism and violence towards women and bring Mr. Haupt’s judgment and integrity into question.

Any business hiring him would have to consider these issues especially when children are in such close personal contact with him.

Obviously the administration responsible for their employees felt they did not want to take a chance.

Over the last several years, sexual misconduct have been brought to light within the RCMP, military, educational institutions and celebrities.

Billions of our tax dollars are paying for the class action lawsuits and other costs associated with investigations and task forces to change the cultures of sexism within these organizations.

Colleges and universities in B.C. now have laws under Bill 23 which have made Mr. Haupt’s behaviour illegal and could have him expelled.

The reason for these laws came as a result that one in four women will be sexually assaulted in colleges and universities while attending school in Canada.

Quite frankly, I was surprised that both Parkway Elementary School and the South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS) are supporting his actions.

From Nov. 25 to Dec. 10 marks the 16 Days of Activism to bring education and awareness to the behaviours and attitudes that contribute to sexism and misogyny that demean women and the tragic consequences that often result.

Mr. Haupt, I am not judging you.

However, for those of us who study this and do the research, I see this as an opportunity for meaningful discussion at a time when awareness of many issues including racism are being played out on a daily basis.

Just as our prime minister and folks like Don Cherry and the Calgary Flames coach have encouraged Canadians to reflect on the consequences of racism, so too is your experience an opportunity for folks to reflect on what exactly constitutes sexism and why it is being treated so seriously.

I hope you will use your notoriety to educate others, particularly children, that even Santa has to be accountable for his actions.

Norma Bates


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