After stealing the hearts of fashion-loving shoppers during the last two holiday seasons, the original Fashion Santa will not be returning to Yorkdale Mall.
In a shocking turn of events, Yorkdale Mall has revealed in a new ad campaign this week that the beloved Paul Mason, who is now in his early 50s, will be replaced by Adam Martin, a younger model in his mid-30s, who, as the mall describes in a statement, will bring “a whole new edge to the season.”
When asked about the mall’s decision to replace the original stylish Santa, Yorkdale marketing director Lucia Connor said, “We reached out several times over the summer and we did not receive a response. We wanted to work with Paul Mason again.”
But, interestingly enough, when Mason sat down with Global TV’s “The Morning Show” on Thursday morning, he claimed the opposite. “It’s a question of intellectual property,” Mason said. “[Fashion Santa] was my inception, my creation and my pitch.”
Mason went on to imply that he was, in fact, never asked to return to the mall. “That’s their story,” he said. “I’ve been in the business a long time, 30 years relevant, the face of Toronto Men’s Fashion Week, TOM*. I don’t think there’s a moment that I would ignore phone calls.”
Mason noted that while he may not be the face of Yorkdale Mall’s new holiday campaign, he does have something exciting in the works. Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, he wrote, “Hi everyone. The RealFashionSanta is still here. I will be announcing something very soon. Happy shopping.”
Many shoppers, who watched as Fashion Santa sent social media into a flurry with his selfie with Justin Bieber last season, continue to express their upset over the decision.
Watch as the original Fashion Santa joined Cheryl Hickey and Rick Campanelli in the ET Canada studio to talk viral fame and give selfie tips in 2015.