When Fashion Santa was first introduced, he caused a sensation with shoppers and celebrities like Justin Bieber. (Photo: Twitter/Yorkdale Style)
In the past few years Yorkdale mall in Toronto, Ont. caused a Santa-mania around the Christmas holidays, because they featured a holiday Santa that was leaner, sexier and more rugged than traditional Santa.
His name is Paul Mason and he is a 53-year old model who has been bringing sexy cheer to shoppers every holiday season since 2014.
When Fashion Santa was first introduced, he caused a sensation with shoppers and celebrities alike. Even Justin Bieber clamoured to take a picture with Mason.
This year, Mason won’t be bringing sexy cheer to Yorkdale shoppers, because he has been replaced with much younger model Adam Martin, which has caused a backlash against the shopping centre and left mall goers quite angry.
After the huge popularity Mason enjoyed as Fashion Santa, many were left asking why he was replaced.
Mason went on CTV’s Your Morning show to explain that he and Yorkdale disagree over who is the rightful owner of the Fashion Santa brand.
While Mason insists that the brand was his idea, which he created after the passing of his mother three years ago inspired him to grow a long beard, Yorkdale says the Fashion Santa concept is theirs.
The mall claims that they reached out to Mason several times during the summer but that he didn’t return their calls, which is why they hired a replacement.
Mason, who’s been a model for 30 years, said this is a case of he said/they said: “I didn’t stay relevant (by) not taking calls and nurturing good relationships.” He also said he decided not to return, because of “conditions” Yorkdale put on his continued employment, the main one being ownership of the Fashion Santa brand.
Yorkdale believes that they have the right to use the brand with or without Mason. Marketing Director Lucia Conner told the Toronto Star that the mall has been advised by both legal and business advisors that, “we can run our Yorkdale Fashion Santa campaign for the third consecutive year.”
Both Mason and Yorkdale have attempted to get legal ownership of the Fashion Santa brand but it’s unclear at this time who actually owns it.