Mask-wearing 'Obama' clown at Missouri state fair draws criticism
This photo provided by Jameson Hsieh shows a clown wearing a mask intended to look like President Obama at the Missouri State Fair. State Fair officials apologized calling the display inappropriate and disrespectful. (AP / Jameson Hsieh)
Published Monday, August 12, 2013 11:14AM EDT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A clown wearing a President Barack Obama mask appeared at a Missouri State Fair event this weekend, and the announcer asked the enthusiastic spectators if they wanted to see "Obama run down by a bull."
A spokesman for Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon called the performance "disrespectful and offensive."
State Fair officials on Sunday said the show was "inappropriate" and "does not reflect the opinions or standards" of the fair.
It wasn't clear if any action will be taken against the performers.
Perry Beam, who was among the spectators, said "everybody screamed" and "just went wild" as the announcer talked about having the bull run down the clown with the Obama mask.
He said another clown ran up to the one wearing the Obama mask, pretended to tickle him and played with the lips on the mask.
"They mentioned the president's name, I don't know, 100 times. It was sickening," Beam said. "It was feeling like some kind of Klan rally you'd see on TV," he said, referring to the Klu Klux Klan, which terrorized African-Americans for decades.
Beam posted a photo of the clown in the Obama mask on his Facebook page, which was promoted online by Showmeprogress.com, bringing a huge response on Twitter.
The president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association, which put on the event, said the clown's actions were unscripted. Mark Ficken is also the rodeo announcer. His attorney, Albert S. Watkins, said Monday that it was the clown, wearing a microphone, who made comments for the crowd.
Watkins said Ficken's only comment was to say, "Watch out for that bull, Obama!"