Giacomo Loprieno, an Italian musical director, lost his job after ruining Christmas this year by publicly denying the existence of Santa Claus.
Now, before anyone says anything, Christmas lasts twelve days, so this is all perfectly timely. And like with every good controversy that has occurred in the past few years, Disney’s Frozen is somehow involved.
During a festive stage production of the Disney film in Rome, some families decided to leave early in order to avoid the holiday traffic. Pretty standard, really… but this is in Italy. Loprieno was so offended by the early exodus led him to preach, “Babbo Natale [Father Christmas] doesn’t exist.” The ragazzini cried. Their parents were stunned.
Being Italian and all, there is speculation that Loprieno was merely a La Befana purist, who believes that Italian children receive their Christmas presents from an esoteric Italian Christmas witch, rather than the friendly saint. These claims remain unconfirmed. However, this may be contradicted after photos came to light that show Santa Claus was actually there in person at the event, seen here with a little girl dressed as Elsa.
“Like everyone, we were shocked by the declaration made by the director. What he said was totally out of line. It was the arbitrary action of one person,” said the event’s organizers, Dimensione Eventi, in a released statement. A new director served for later productions of the Roman show, and Santa Claus made subsequent appearances to assure the local children that he does, in fact, exist.
Some people have defended the outburst, citing freedom of speech. Italians are guaranteed freedom of speech by law, but there are some taboo topics such as the Italian President and various religious figures, including the Pope. Likewise, defamatory comments that attack a person’s honor can also have legal ramifications.
In other words, “You’re a mean one, Don Loprieno….”