US state fair bans rodeo clown who mocked Obama
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri (AP) — The Missouri State Fair has permanently banned a rodeo clown whose imitation of President Barack Obama has been widely criticized as disrespectful.
Fair officials said Monday that the rodeo clown has been barred from ever performing at the fair again. They are also reviewing whether to take any actions against the contractor responsible for Saturday’s rodeo.
During the event, a clown wore a mask of Obama and asked the spectators if they wanted to see “Obama run down by a bull.” Many in the audience responded enthusiastically.
The act was criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike after video and photos of the event were posted online. Some Democratic Missouri lawmakers suggested Monday that there should be financial consequences for the fair.
The fair said in a written statement announcing the rodeo clown’s ban that he had engaged in an “unconscionable stunt” that was “inappropriate and not in keeping with the Fair’s standards.”
The fair’s press release did not identify the clown.
The rodeo’s announcer sought Monday to distance himself from the clown’s actions.
Announcer Mark Ficken said through an attorney that the clown was wearing a live microphone and had given the announcer no advance notice about his skit. Ficken is president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association.
“He was as surprised as anyone with the appearance of an Obama-masked rodeo clown,” attorney Albert Watkins said of his client.