Tim Allen Faces Backlash for ‘Problematic’ Christmas Joke in ‘The Santa Clauses’

by Caitlin Berard
(The Walt Disney Company via Getty Images)

In 1994, a new Christmas classic was born. In the movie, entitled The Santa Clause, Tim Allen plays Scott Calvin, a cynical executive for a toy company with no time for his family and no love for the holidays. Through an unexpected sequence of events, Calvin takes over the role of Santa Claus and, through it, learns to appreciate the things that truly matter in life. The movie was a massive success, spawning two sequels, and now, a limited series, The Santa Clauses, which premiered on November 16 on Disney Plus.

Well, it’s safe to say that The Santa Clause 2 and 3 weren’t quite as magical as the first installment. Though they were financially successful, they garnered mixed to negative reviews from fans and critics. The fourth installment, The Santa Clauses, however, is receiving arguably the most negative reaction of them all.

While criticisms of the second and third installments largely centered around plot decisions and a general lack of that warm Christmas cheer that filled the first, the fourth is receiving major backlash online for its apparent politics.

The show only premiered two days ago, so there are only two episodes available to watch as of now. But those alone were more than enough to cause trouble on Twitter.

Social Media Responds to Tim Allen’s Dialogue in ‘The Santa Clauses’

Early in the series, Santa Claus (Tim Allen) declares, “Saying ‘Merry Christmas to all’ has suddenly become problematic!” sparking massive controversy across the social media platform.

“Santa had the red hat all along and we just ignored it,” one user said, referencing the “Make America Great Again” hat made famous by former President Donald Trump. “Watching the Santa Clause franchise has become problematic. I usually watch them every year. Not anymore,” another said.

Many people brought up the supposed reference to the “war on Christmas,” cracking jokes rather than expressing outrage or disappointment. “Babe, the annual made-up controversy is starting again, break out the Mariah Carey CDs,” one user joked.

Still others defended the series in hopes that the line was part of Tim Allen’s character arc. “Ok, let’s not jump to conclusions. The Santa Clause starts with the main character as a big-shot business type who can hardly see past his marketing department or his own preconceptions. This is… probably characterization. I hope,” a user wrote.

In a recent interview with Deadline, The Santa Clauses creator Jack Burditt confessed that there was some “back and forth” over the line in the writer’s room.

“This is something that I just think is silly,” he said. “But then I’m like, I don’t know… I mean, look, we also had a joke at one point where Santa is on his rounds, they’re going in for a landing, and somebody’s shooting something up at him. And Noel the elf says something like, ‘A war on Christmas!’ I’m like, yeah, I don’t wanna go that far.”