Missouri bans rodeo clown who wore Obama mask from state fairs

May 30, 2013
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(Reuters) - A clown who wore a mask of President Barack Obama at a Missouri State Fair rodeo and encouraged a bull to run him down as the crowd cheered was banned Monday from any future state fairs.

The incident Saturday night was denounced by leading Democrats and Republicans and fair officials as disrespectful to the president.

The Missouri State Fair Commission voted Monday to "permanently ban this rodeo clown from ever participating or performing" at the annual state fair, according to a news release.

"The Missouri State Fair apologizes for the unconscionable stunt," the commission said.

The commission did not identify the clown in its statement, and officials could not be reached for further comment.

The clown appeared at the finals of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo at the fair in Sedalia, Missouri, about 94 miles southwest of Kansas City. A Facebook account of the clown's stunt appeared on the website of Show Me Progress, which identifies itself as a "progressive politics community" for Missouri, from a person who reported attending the fair with a student from Taiwan.

"The announcer wanted to know if anyone would like to see Obama run down by a bull," the posting said. "The crowd went wild. He asked it again and again, louder each time, whipping the audience into a lather."

On Monday, Albert Watkins, a lawyer for the main announcer at the rodeo, said that the unidentified clown who wore the Obama mask made most of the remarks himself into a microphone he was wearing. Rodeo clowns use their own microphones and choose their own mask and routine, Watkins said.

Watkins said his client Mark Ficken, who was the main announcer and is fair association president and superintendent of schools in Boonville, Missouri, has been unduly faulted in the incident.

The only remark Ficken made as announcer was a standard warning to clowns to be careful, in this case saying, "Watch out for that bull, Obama," Watkins said.

Watkins said the rest of the Show Me Progress posting describing the event was accurate.

"A clown wearing a political mask is not unusual," Watkins said. "What was unusual was that what started out as funny became off-color, inappropriate and political in nature, if not out-and-out racist. There is no place for that at a state fair."

The Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association posted a "sincere apology for the inappropriate act during the bull-riding show" at the fair.

"The sport of rodeo is not meant to be a political platform," the association stated. The board is "dealing with the situation firmly and quickly and this type of behavior will not be tolerated," it said.

The fair commission said the terms of its contract with the rodeo association to conduct rodeos is under review to decide if any further action is warranted.
Link

From the Left wing Daily Kos-

The rodeo at the Missouri state fair this weekend demonstrated just how post-racial our society really is, sending a rodeo clown out in a Barack Obama mask as:
Rodeo announcer Mark Ficken, president of the Missouri Cowboy Rodeo Association and a school superintendent, announced a special guest: "President Obama."
Working up the crowd, Ficken said, "We're going to stomp Obama now."

"As soon as this bull comes out, Obama, don't you move," he said. "He's going to getcha, getcha getcha, getcha."

A clown on the arena floor chimed in: "Hey, I know I'm a clown. He's just running around acting like one. Doesn't know he is one."

That's right, rodeo clown. The president is "running around" ignorant of something that's obvious to you. Ha ha ha, the black man got above himself and thinks he's better than a rodeo clown, how dare he, let's get a crowd to cheer at the idea of a bull running him over.
If you read this and are tempted to think "oh, but this might just be about party and policy, not race," consider that "another clown ran up to the one wearing the Obama mask, pretended to tickle him and played with the lips on the mask." (And if you were tempted to think this wasn't about race, you haven't been paying attention the past five years or you're just really, really in denial.)

Oh, and in case you missed it, the announcer reveling in the idea of "stomping" Obama? That guy is a school superintendent. He's in charge of the education of the children of Boonville, Missouri. Good to know the kind of attitude coming from the top in those schools.
Link

Yes, people are OUTRAGED!
 
May 30, 2013
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Clown Invited to Texas

A Republican congressman says the rodeo clown banned from the Missouri State Fair for wearing a President Obama mask during a skit is welcome to perform in Texas instead.

Rep. Steve Stockman said the clown can take part in a rodeo in his district, which is just east of Houston, as a show of support for free speech.

“Liberals want to bronco bust dissent. But Texans value speech, even if it’s speech they don’t agree with,” the congressman said in a statement. “From Molly Ivins to Louie Gohmert and every opinion between Texans value free and open political speech. I’m sure any rodeo in Texas would be proud to have performers.”

Mr. Stockman went on to chastise the Missouri fair, which has banned the clown in question and also has demanded that before this year’s vendor is allowed to put on another fair, it show proof that all clowns and other employees have undergone sensitivity training. Mr. Stockman said that appeared to be an effort “to create a state of fear.”

The fair has not identified the clown, who wore an Obama mask as an announcer asked if the crowd would like to see Mr. Obama get run down by a bull. But The Associated Press reported that a friend and a relative identified the man as Tuffy Gesling.

The clown controversy also made its way to the White House press corps Wednesday, as spokesman Josh Earnest was asked whether Mr. Obama had any personal reaction either to the skit or to calls by the Missouri NAACP for the Justice Department and Secret Service to investigate the mask-wearer.

The NAACP said the skit constituted “targeting and inciting violence against our president” and provides the basis for a federal investigation. The group added that the state is “subsidizing the Missouri State Fair to the tune of $400,000. We are calling for the subsidy to stop.”

Mr. Earnest said he was unaware of any personal reaction by the president and deflected questions about calls for investigations to the Justice Department.

But, he added, “I can tell you as a native Missourian it’s certainly not one of the finer moments for our state.”

On the other side, a Facebook group has been created to support the banned clown and gained more than 30,000 supporters in just three days

“This page was started to show support for Tuffy Gessling a rodeo entertainer that is taking heat for telling a joke that has been around for decades. Tuffy’s big sin? He dared to tell the joke using Obama,” the group’s description reads.

On Tuesday, a page administrator posted a quote, attributed to French philosopher Voltaire: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
 
May 30, 2013
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A couple excerpts from a Philadelphia Enquirer story from 1994 regarding a rodeo that used a presidential prop-

"The big white gate flew open. The bull came out bucking. The rider flopped from side to side and the bullfighters held back, letting the bull make his moves until the rider dropped off. Licciardello crouched in a heavily padded barrel, a human target should the bull decide to charge. Hawkins waited near the barrel, holding his big inner tube. A dummy with a George Bush mask stood beside the clown, propped up by a broomstick."

"T.J. Hawkins rolled out the big inner tube, and the bull lowered his head, shot forward and launched into the tube, sending it bounding down the center of the arena. The crowd cheered. Then the bull saw the George Bush dummy. He tore into it, sending the rubber mask flying halfway across the sand as he turned toward the fence, sending cowboys scrambling up the fence rails, hooking one with his horn and tossing him off the fence."

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KRSOne

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You can't mock dear leader.

HBO can impale a GWB mask but don't mock Obama the great leader. Americans don't believe in free speech.

The left always cries about McCarthy going after commies but now they are doing the same thing and going after right wingers or anyone who does something they don't like.
 

Hudson

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I said it when he was first elected..speak against Chocolate Jesus in any way = racism.....NAACP asking for Secret Service and Justice Dept. investigation...
 

Begbie

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#6
Amazing how thin-skinned the left is.

Honestly, I feel the President and more plainly, the office of the President, command a certain level of respect. Many people will find things like this, to be in bad taste. Usually, you should have more freedom when it comes down to comedy and entertainment, because the individual doesn't have to be "serious" with his mockery. But still, you're always going to have people whining and complaining, on either side of the aisle...no matter how meaningless it was.

It's just when we get to the point where lives are effectively destroyed over meaningless incidents like this. I mean, they want to destroy this guy. Make certain he's no longer a rodeo clown, and now try to sic the Secret Service and FBI on him. Maybe the IRS can further destroy the guy. Drive him to suicide or something.

This overreaction would then prevent anyone, in any forum, from mocking the President. Or in this case, the first African American President. You can't even jokingly make fun of black people or you run the risk of destroying your career.
 

f kane

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A fucking disgusting display of political correctness. A Rodeo clown, libs - seriously? Forget about how bad Obama bungled Egypt or how the IRS politically targeted a perceived conservative news anchor, this is the real outrage!
 

Neon

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I saw some people spinning it like it was a death threat. "It's not that he wore an Obama mask, it's that he wanted Obama chased down by bulls!" Someone actually said that seriously.
 

WhiteHonkyDevil

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I saw some people spinning it like it was a death threat. "It's not that he wore an Obama mask, it's that he wanted Obama chased down by bulls!" Someone actually said that seriously.
Someone on HLN actually said that, or something very close to that. I couldn't fucking believe it. Sometimes, it's just a fucking guy in a clown costume, not an OMGOVERTHROWTHEREGIME statement.
 

Neon

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Someone on HLN actually said that, or something very close to that. I couldn't fucking believe it. Sometimes, it's just a fucking guy in a clown costume, not an OMGOVERTHROWTHEREGIME statement.
We are straying dangerously close to topics one shouldn't discuss on the internet, but let me put it this way - No one, and I mean NO ONE, wants Obama to be trampled by a wild bull. Even people who wish him harm in like Iran or the ranks of Al-Qaeda don't want it to happen like that. In fact, that's exactly why it is ok. If some guy wore an Obama mask during a play about the Lincoln assassination, that would be a major problem because the scenario is way too close to real life (like that video game where you could assassinate Bush - that was way way over the line in my opinion). It's the absurdity that clearly shows it isn't any kind of threat. I don't know what's worse - someone believing that was a threat, or someone saying so even though they don't really believe it was just for the political pile on.
 

WhiteHonkyDevil

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We are straying dangerously close to topics one shouldn't discuss on the internet, but let me put it this way - No one, and I mean NO ONE, wants Obama to be trampled by a wild bull. Even people who wish him harm in like Iran or the ranks of Al-Qaeda don't want it to happen like that. In fact, that's exactly why it is ok. If some guy wore an Obama mask during a play about the Lincoln assassination, that would be a big no no because the scenario is way too close to real life. It's the absurdity that clearly shows it isn't any kind of threat. I don't know what's worse - someone believing that was a threat, or someone saying so even though they don't really believe it was just for the political pile on.
To be fair, it WAS HLN. Everybody on that channel has to be overly dramatic in case Nancy Grace gets so infuriated that her uterus falls out and needs to be replaced.
 

Neon

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To be fair, it WAS HLN. Everybody on that channel has to be overly dramatic in case Nancy Grace gets so infuriated that her uterus falls out and needs to be replaced.
I saw some people saying it on twitter. Talk about turning everything into a scandal. Personally I think many white liberals, especially ones in the media, have a morbid obsessive fear of being thought of as racists so they feel the need to doth protest too much. Whenever I read a tweet like that all I can hear is "SEE?? JOHNNY Q. NOTRACIST JUST HERE BEING MY NOT RACIST SELF. I'M SO OUTRAGED ABOUT ANYTHING RACIAL BECAUSE I AM THE NOTRACISTINGEST NOTRACIST IN THE WORLD. PLEASE BELIEVE I'M NOT A RACIST PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE!!!"
 

WhiteHonkyDevil

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I saw some people saying it on twitter. Talk about turning everything into a scandal. Personally I think many white liberals, especially ones in the media, have a morbid obsessive fear of being thought of as racists so they feel the need to doth protest too much. Whenever I read a tweet like that all I can hear is "SEE?? JOHNNY Q. NOTRACIST JUST HERE BEING MY NOT RACIST SELF. I'M SO OUTRAGED ABOUT ANYTHING RACIAL BECAUSE I AM THE NOTRACISTINGEST NOTRACIST IN THE WORLD. PLEASE BELIEVE I'M NOT A RACIST PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE!!!"
I thought (at this point) that's a given. White guilt is so prevalent that I expect nothing less.
 

Neon

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I thought (at this point) that's a given. White guilt is so prevalent that I expect nothing less.
But in this case they really came across like a bunch of clowns (meh meh). I gotta think a lot of regular people thought the opposition really overreacted here. I think most people have a sensible barometer on this stuff. Nobody was burning him in effigy or anything like that. It was just a goofy bit. I think they really shoot themselves in the foot when they are hysterical about nothing shit like this.
 

WhiteHonkyDevil

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But in this case they really came across like a bunch of clowns (meh meh). I gotta think a lot of regular people thought the opposition really overreacted here. I think most people have a sensible barometer on this stuff. Nobody was burning him in effigy or anything like that. It was just a goofy bit. I think they really shoot themselves in the foot when they are hysterical about nothing shit like this.
Seems to me that it just fuels a whole lot of unnecessary bullshit. I HOPE most people get it, but the ones who don't are the loudest and most obnoxious about it.
 

Ballbuster1

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#18
You can't mock dear leader.

HBO can impale a GWB mask but don't mock Obama the great leader. Americans don't believe in free speech.

The left always cries about McCarthy going after commies but now they are doing the same thing and going after right wingers or anyone who does something they don't like.
Exactly. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.
 

Hog's Big Ben

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Bush wasn't president in 1994, and that's not a rodeo clown. But don't let that get in the way of your fake outrage against the fake outrage.

The guy shouldn't lose his gig, and the usual suspects shouldn't be losing their minds, but it is classless and tacky. It's a fucking rodeo, not a U2 concert. Shut the fuck up about politics. This clown sounds like the type of clown (meh meh) that turns every YouTube comment section into, "But if Obama hadn't..."

We get it, "Tuffy." You're a hillbilly and there's a Negro in the White House. You're understandably upset, but tell a few silly jokes and amuse me. You know, like a clown.
 

Psychopath

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But in this case they really came across like a bunch of clowns (meh meh). I gotta think a lot of regular people thought the opposition really overreacted here. I think most people have a sensible barometer on this stuff. Nobody was burning him in effigy or anything like that. It was just a goofy bit. I think they really shoot themselves in the foot when they are hysterical about nothing shit like this.
I would wonder how they would feel if this was a political cartoon rather than some white guy in a mask.
 

whiskeyguy

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We get it, "Tuffy." You're a hillbilly and there's a Negro in the White House. You're understandably upset, but tell a few silly jokes and amuse me. You know, like a clown.
Why is it that this guy have to be a racist or even "upset"? This is such a fucking ridiculous assumption. Perhaps he just wanted to get a laugh, just like most of the people who have joked about every president we've ever had.
 

Hog's Big Ben

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Why is it that this guy have to be a racist or even "upset"? This is such a fucking ridiculous assumption. Perhaps he just wanted to get a laugh, just like most of the people who have joked about every president we've ever had.
How else was I going to squeeze in that hilarious Goodfellas reference? Stop tearing down my walls.
 

mascan42

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#24
But in this case they really came across like a bunch of clowns (meh meh). I gotta think a lot of regular people thought the opposition really overreacted here. I think most people have a sensible barometer on this stuff. Nobody was burning him in effigy or anything like that. It was just a goofy bit. I think they really shoot themselves in the foot when they are hysterical about nothing shit like this.
I sometimes wonder if some of this Twitter over-reaction is failed sarcasm, and we're the ones not getting it. It doesn't seem possible that there are people out there that are legitimately this stupid.