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Lifestyle

Laughing Santa gets the old heave ho ho ho

A man dressed as Santa Claus poses for a picture at the Europa Park leisure park in Rust, Germany, November 26, 2005. A Santa in an Australian department store said on Wednesday he has been sacked for saying "ho ho ho" and singing Christmas songs to children. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

CANBERRA (Reuters) - A Santa in an Australian department store said on Wednesday he has been sacked for saying “ho ho ho” and singing Christmas songs to children.

Employment company Westaff, which supplies stores with red-robed, white-bearded Father Christmases, had earlier asked its Santas to say “ha ha ha” because the word “ho”, which is American slang for whore, could offend women, media reported.

In the latest incident, the Cairns Post newspaper said 70-year-old John Oakes was sacked on Monday for saying “ho ho ho” and for singing the Christmas song Jingle Bells.

“They’re trying to kill the spirit of Christmas,” said Oakes, a retired entertainer who has been a Santa for three years.

Westaff spokesman Bert Jansz told the paper Oakes had been dismissed because of his attitude, and not for his ho ho ho-ing.

“The candidate was not sacked nor was his use of the term ‘ho ho ho’ a factor in our decision,” Jansz told the Cairns Post.

He said Westaff Santas were not banned from using the term.

Reporting by James Grubel; editing by Roger Crabb

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