Russian State TV Host Mocks US Being Concerned About ‘Fat Shaming’ Santa

Russian propagandist Olga Skabeyeva lashed out against recent concerns in the US over “fat shaming” Santa Claus—traditionally represented as a big man in a red coat—and misgendering his reindeer Rudolph.

Talking on Russia-1, a state-owned television channel, the TV host mocked both Washington and Kyiv for the way they were celebrating Christmas this year, saying of the US that Americans are “so touchingly concerned about Santa being fat-shamed and the gender identity of his reindeer.”

While these topics are not widely discussed in the US, a recent controversy was stirred up in Australia by a New South Wales-based doctor’s call to ban “fat Santas” from shopping malls. Expecting Santa to be fat “sends the wrong message,” Vincent Candrawinata told the Herald Sun.

In this composition, a girl hugs Santa Claus at the King of Prussia Mall on December 11, 2022 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (to the left) and TV host Olga Skabeyeva (to the right). Skabeyeva lashed out against concerns in the US of “fat shaming” Santa Claus.
Getty Images/Telegram

On the other hand, the gender of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer has already been questioned by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who tweeted in 2020 that Rudolph must have been female.

“Santa doesn’t know Zoology,” deGrasse Tyson wrote on Twitter.

“Both male & female Reindeer grow antlers. But all male Reindeer lose their antlers in the late fall, well-before Christmas. So Santa’s reindeer, which all sport antlers, are therefore all female, which means Rudolf has been misgendered.”

Though apparently inaccurate, Skabeyeva’s comment about the US being concerned over issues ranging from fat-shaming to gender identity plays into the narrative that the Kremlin has been pushing for years: one that portrays Vladimir Putin’s Russia as one of the world’s last standing defenders of traditionalism. values ​​against the West’s alleged moral decadence.

In the Kremlin’s world view, Ukraine falls in line with the West.

The clip of Skabeyeva’s comments was tweeted by BBC Monitoring’s Francis Scarr on Monday.

Addressing the Russian public from the platform of a channel that’s estimated to reach some 75 percent of the country’s population, Skabeyeva went on with a tirade against Ukraine and the country’s ties with the US, ironically saying that “Christian values ​​are in perfect order” in Ukraine.

“Admittedly, two new characters have unexpectedly appeared in the biblical story. Look—of course Joe Biden has wormed his way in and naturally Stepan Bandera too,” she said, showing on screen what appeared to be an image of a nativity scene at an unspecified location.

Bandera was the leader of the radical wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, named OUN-B, who is said to have collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.

The existence of such a nativity scene was not confirmed by either Ukrainian sources or international news media and could not immediately be verified by Newsweek. Any mention of such a nativity scene has only been made by Russian news media and could therefore be considered part of the Kremlin’s propaganda against Ukraine, considering it played into Putin’s claims that Russian troops are fighting “Nazis” in Ukraine.

Skabeyeva is considered one of the top Kremlin propagandists in Russia, where she was dubbed “Iron Doll of Putin TV.”

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