Missouri rodeo clown banned for Obama mask flap

Aug. 12, 2013 at 3:53 PM   |   0 comments

SEDALIA, Mo., Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A rodeo clown Monday was banned from working Missouri's State Fair for wearing a Barack Obama mask and asking the crowd if it wanted to see a bull run over him.

The fair commission's statement also offered another apology for the unidentified clown's actions at the Saturday night rodeo, saying they were inappropriate and below the fair's standards.

KSDK-TV, St. Louis, reported the commission voted unanimously to back the decision by State Fair Director Mark Wolfe to ban the rodeo clown.

Albert S. Watkins, an attorney for rodeo announcer Mark Ficken, said the clown ad-libbed the incendiary comments about the president, not his client.

The masked rodeo clown drew heavy criticism from both political parties, fair officials and cowboy associations for his instigation of the crowd.

"As soon as this bull comes out, Obama, don't you move," he could be heard saying as music thumped in the background.

"He's gonna get ya, Obama; he's going to get ya."

Missouri State Fair officials apologized Sunday, calling the show "inappropriate," in a statement posted on Facebook. "We strive to be a family friendly event and regret that Saturday's rodeo badly missed that mark."

"The performance by one of the rodeo clowns at Saturday's event was inappropriate and disrespectful, and does not reflect the opinions or standards of the Missouri State Fair," fair officials posted.

Show Me Progress, an organization advocating the progressive movement, reported a Facebook account of the incident in which the Facebook poster said he took a Taiwanese student to the rodeo Saturday in Sedalia, Mo.

"The crowd went wild," the poster said regarding the calls to the crowd. "He asked it again and again, louder each time, whipping the audience into a lather."

One fair-goer posted on her Twitter page, "Everybody was screaming," saying the rodeo event in which the masked clown participated seemed "like some kind of Klan rally."

Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder called the performance "disrespectful" in a tweet posted Sunday.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said the state fair is "supposed to be a place where we can all bring our families and celebrate the state that we love," The Hill reported.

"But the young Missourians who witnessed this stunt learned exactly the wrong lesson about political discourse, that somehow it's ever acceptable to, in a public event, disrespect, taunt and joke about harming the president of our great nation," McCaskill said.

The Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association, one of the bull riding competition's organizers, also apologized and said the event wasn't meant to be "a political platform."

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