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Brad Wilmouth

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CNN hypes children’s book portraying Santa Claus as gay, ‘married’ to another man

Brad Wilmouth

December 20, 2017 (Newsbusters) – On CNN's New Day Sunday, the show devoted a four-minute segment to the new children's book Santa's Husband, which portrays Santa Claus as a gay man who gets married to another man. The segment included as guests the author, Daniel Kibblesmith, and illustrator Ashley Quach, with Kibblesmith recalling that he was partially inspired to write the book because of the complaints that are made each year about a "war on Christmas."

At 6:12 a.m. ET, CNN co-anchor Christi Paul plugged the interview: "There's a new children's book out this Christmas -- takes us inside Santa's wedding. We meet Santa's husband David. We're going to talk to the author and illustrator ahead."

 

In the second plug at 6:51 a.m. ET, Paul and co-host Victor Blackwell vaguely admitted that some are "not so happy" about the book:

PAUL: Still ahead, a holiday children's book tells the story of Santa Claus with a fresh, new twist. There are some families, though, not so happy about the book's maybe not so hidden agenda.

VICTOR BLACKWELL: Yeah, they call it a political agenda. We have the author and the illustrator here with us live to talk about their new book, Santa's Husband.

Minutes later, Blackwell introduced the segment:

Close your eyes – close your eyes with me and think of Santa and his spouse. Now, open them. This is the cover of the new book. Is this the image that popped in your head? This the cover of Santa's Husband, a new children's book that hits stores nationwide this holiday season.

After Blackwell asked the author what "inspired" him to write the book, Kibblesmith brought up talk of a fake "war on Christmas" as he answered:

It was sort of inspired by the annual tradition we have in this country of pretending that there's a giant war on Christmas, and that traditional Christmas is under attack. So, among other things, we were reading all of the news about the Mall of America hiring a black Santa Claus last year.

And me and my now-wife made a joke on Twitter that, if we ever had a child, they would only know about black Santa Claus – and if they saw a white Santa Claus at the mall, we would just explain, "Well, that's his husband." And then Ashley and I knew each other from the internet and from her illustration already, and she jumped into my Twitter mentions and said, "Boom – new book."

In his third and final question, Blackwell finally brought up criticism of the book, although he oddly cited a response from a gay man who complained about the book being "patronizing" and "polarizing." Blackwell:

You know this is a lot for some parents -- some people may not agree with it. Let me read one of the criticisms here.

"I'm a gay man, and honestly the book is pretty patronizing and obviously meant to take two sweet things, the image of Santa Claus and love between two adults, and use them as a tool to express a political opinion in a polarizing way – especially the news anchor scene – in the guise of a children's book. I find it overall patronizing, and I'm a little disgusted that the authors obviously used homosexuality as a political weapon to make a political statement under the cover of children."

Listen, the elves have health care coverage, they settle labor disputes, you address climate change, Rudolph and Frosty attend Santa and David's wedding. I mean, are you using a children's book to push a political ideology, Daniel?

Not mentioned was the more obvious conservative complaint about using a children's book to promote homosexual behavior to children.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portions of the December 17, New Day Sunday on CNN:

6:12 a.m. ET

CHRISTI PAUL: There's a new children's book out this Christmas – takes us inside Santa's wedding. We meet Santa's husband David. We're going to talk to the author and illustrator ahead.

(...)

6:51 a.m. ET

PAUL: Still ahead, a holiday children's book tells the story of Santa Claus with a fresh, new twist. There are some families, though, not so happy about the book's maybe not so hidden agenda.

VICTOR BLACKWELL: Yeah, they call it a political agenda. We have the author and the illustrator here with us live to talk about their new book, Santa's Husband.

(...)

6:56 a.m. ET

BLACKWELL: Well, with the Christmas holiday right around the corner, millions of people are getting really into the spirit with thoughts of family and gifts and, of course, Santa Claus.

PAUL: So do us a favor here. Victor had a very good idea.

BLACKWELL: Close your eyes – close your eyes with me and think of Santa and his spouse. Now, open them. This is the cover of the new book. Is this the image that popped in your head? This the cover of Santa's Husband, a new children's book that hits stores nationwide this holiday season. And, joining me now, the author, Daniel Kibblesmith, and illustrator Ashley Quach. Good morning. So –

DANIEL KIBBLESMITH, AUTHOR OF SANTA'S HUSBAND: Hey, good morning, thanks for having us.

BLACKWELL: Certainly, thank you for coming in. This is new. Daniel, first to you. What inspired Santa's Husband.

KIBBLESMITH: Uh, well, it was sort of inspired by the annual tradition we have in this country of pretending that there's a giant war on Christmas, and that traditional Christmas is under attack. So, among other things, we were reading all of the news about the Mall of America hiring a black Santa Claus last year.

And me and my now wife made a joke on Twitter that, if we ever had a child, they would only know about black Santa Claus – and if they saw a white Santa Claus at the mall, we would just explain, "Well, that's his husband." And then Ashley and I knew each other from the internet and from her illustration already, and she jumped into my Twitter mentions and said, "Boom – new book."

BLACKWELL: Yeah, and it's out now, available everywhere actually. So let me read a couple of pages here. It says, "Like any married couple, they have their disagreements, but they all manage to kiss and make up, usually over a plate of milk and cookies." I'll read one of the online responses, too.

I'm African-American – my family collects black Santa figures. but I grew up never seeing black Santas in the mall or on TV. Now that my nephew is two, he's starting to understand the idea of Santa, and this book lets him know that Santa isn't just the old white fellow he sees in the mall. The real Santa looks more like him, and that's kind of cool.

Ashley, important for children to see themselves?

[ASHLEY QUACH, ILLUSTRATOR OF SANTA'S HUSBAND]

BLACKWELL: You know this is a lot for some parents – some people may not agree with it. Let me read one of the criticisms here.

I'm a gay man, and honestly the book is pretty patronizing and obviously meant to take two sweet things, the image of Santa Claus and love between two adults, and use them as a tool to express a political opinion in a polarizing way – especially the news anchor scene – in the guise of a children's book. I find it overall patronizing, and I'm a little disgusted that the authors obviously used homosexuality as a political weapon to make a political statement under the cover of children.

Listen, the elves have health care coverage, they settle labor disputes, you address climate change, Rudolph and Frosty attend Santa and David's wedding. I mean, are you using a children's book to push a political ideology, Daniel?

KIBBLESMITH: Well, I think that's a legitimate criticism. I mean, I'm literally on the news anchor scene now, but, you know, that's just the world that we come from. I'm a political satire writer. So when, you know, I have the opportunity to write a book, these are the things that I care about and that I'm interested in. My only real response to that, I think, is that we're trying to put a net positive into the world and contribute to a vacuum of representation. But these are obviously our views – they're not everybody's views, and we're just flattered that the response has been so overwhelmingly positive so far.

BLACKWELL: All right, Daniel Kibblesmith and Ashley Quach, thank you so much.

Reprinted with permission from Newsbusters.

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