The Mall of America made history once again by hiring its first-ever Black Santa.
Larry Jefferson is the man who was tasked with doing the honor of greeting several children whose parents took them to the mall to see Santa.
The mall, located in Bloomington, MN, booked Jefferson for a solid nine-day appearance for the season.
During his tenure, the jolly Santa reflected on his experiences in the role.
“It gives kids from Minnesota a Santa who looks like them, but, frankly, kids love Santa no matter what color you are,” Jefferson told NBC News. “I just want to share the Christmas spirit and spread the love during this holiday season.”
Jefferson, who is known to his fans as “Santa Larry,” said he garners positive responses from children and parents alike, regardless of their racial and ethnic background.
“My lines are filled with kids — and filled of diversity,” said Jefferson.“Black kids, white kids, Asian kids, Hispanic kids — they all come to see Santa.”
But some folks just can’t get with a Black Santa.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune had to turn off the comment section of their article on Jefferson due to so many racist remarks.
“These people were online bullies with their hateful, racist comments,” Jefferson said. “I ignore them because we’re hearing so many positive observations.”
This year, there weren’t many racist reactions on social media like before and there has been an outpouring of support.
“One woman came up to me in tears,” Jefferson said. “She said she always wanted to see a black Santa but had never seen a black Santa until she saw me. She was very emotional.”