Actor Tim Allen’s “The Santa Clauses” on Disney+ has faced an array of press coverage, with some deriding the series and others supporting it. The latest hoopla centers on a brief reference to Satan.
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For those paying attention, the series has been fodder for a steady stream of news coverage and reaction. To begin, the 69-year-old Allen recently sparked headlines after stating the show will address religion and pay homage to the Christian history of Christmas.
That came after a separate controversy over a line his Santa character uttered about saying “Merry Christmas.”
But the latest drama surrounds a quick and fleeting reference to Satan seen in the third episode of “The Santa Clauses.” The central claim by some upset over the inclusion is that Disney pushed a “We love Satan” sentiment in the series.
The assertion centers on a scene in which elves are bidding Santa farewell. Each elf holds a letter, with the collective intending to spell the words, “We love you, Santa.”
But when some of the elves end up in the wrong formation, the line briefly says, “We love you, Satan.”
Santa sees the word and corrects the elves, proclaiming, “Spelling.” They then freak out and fix their formation, delivering the “We love you, Santa” message they intended.
Allen’s character, Santa, then gives them a thumbs up.
That’s the moment at the heart of claims about Disney and Satan, according to Politifact.
Fact-checkers believe the outrage is based on an incomplete understanding of the scene, as some of the critiques appear to ignore both Santa correcting their error and their horror. Politifact, for its part, wrote, “In context that’s missing from both the blog and Instagram post, this is clearly a joke.”
New kids show from Disney. Keep in mind, this made it through the editing process and to the final product. pic.twitter.com/wrcqIzg8xm— John Rich🇺🇸 (@johnrich) November 28, 2022
Politifact rated the claim Disney is pushing Satan in “The Santa Clauses” as false.
The debate is fascinating, though, as the series has riled people on all sides of the culture wars. Not long ago, some secularists and other critics went after Allen and the series for supposedly vilifying people who don’t celebrate Christmas.
Those claims were birthed when Allen’s character was asked what’s bothering him. Santa responded, “Saying Merry Christmas to all has suddenly become problematic!”
Filmmaker Scott Weinberg called out the inclusion of the line, tweeting about how he found it strange to incorporate into a kids’ series.
“It just struck me as a truly weird thing to put in a kid’s series,” he tweeted. “‘[Someone] wants to stop us from saying Merry Christmas!’ is not some random campaign. It’s a low-key effort to vilify anyone who doesn’t celebrate this holiday. In a grown-up movie I’d just groan and ignore it.”
it just struck me as a truly weird thing to put in a kid’s series. “<someone> wants to stop us from saying Merry Christmas!” is not some random campaign. it’s a low-key effort to vilify anyone who doesn’t celebrate this holiday. in a grown-up movie I’d just groan and ignore it.— Scott Weinberg (@scottEmovienerd) November 17, 2022
Another user named @DannyDangerOz said he’s a professional Santa and pushed back against the supposed narrative created by the joke.
“As a professional Santa I know that’s bull. Biggest problem is [right-wing] pundits claiming things like ‘Merry Christmas,’ decorations, and songs are being banned,” he wrote. “I spend a chunk of my time as a Santa calming down old folks who believe Christmas is being taken from them. It’s cruel.”
Read more about that controversy here.
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