NEW YORK, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Rockefeller Center's skating Santa has been fired and won't perform on the iconic Manhattan rink this Christmas season, a company spokesman said.
Paul Chernosky, who's been dazzling tourists and onlookers for 15 years as Santa on skates, said he was set to return for a 16th season when he was told by his boss he was no longer needed.
"I tried to stay calm. It was very upsetting," Chernosky told the New York Post.
Chernosky said he knew something was amiss in February when his boss at Patina Restaurant Group, the company that operates the ice rink, told Chernosky his skates, which he kept in a locker in the company's office, had been thrown out.
Chernosky said his former boss, Eric Kaplan, promised to buy him new skates. Then, when it came time to begin another holiday season, Chernosky said Kaplan simply fired him.
A company representative confirmed the decision.
"Our relationship with Paul Chernosky was discontinued this year, when after several discussions about his quality of service as one of our Skating Santas the decision was made to go with another vendor," the company said in a statement.
A rotating cast of Santa skaters will replace Chernosky, the Post said.