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MO. state fair bans clown after mocking Obama
- NEW: State fair commission bans clown after Saturday night’s “unconscionable stunt”
- Rodeo association apologizes for anti-Obama rant
- One witness likened the atmosphere to a Klan rally
- Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says “We are better than this”
(CNN) — A rodeo stunt at the Missouri State Fair has come under criticism after a clown donned a Barack Obama mask and stuck on a broom that descended from his backside.
The stunt took place during the bull riding competition on Saturday night.
Rodeo announcer Mark Ficken, president of the Missouri Cowboy Rodeo Association and a school superintendent, announced a special guest: “President Obama.”
Another voice is heard over the loudspeaker working up the crowd and saying, “We’re going to stomp Obama now.”
An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed inappropriate comments made about President Obama at a rodeo to announcer Mark Ficken, the president of the Missouri Cowboy Rodeo Association. The remarks were carried over the loudspeaker system, but were made by a rodeo clown. CNN apologizes for the error.
“As soon as this bull comes out, Obama, don’t you move,” the second voice said. “He’s going to getcha, getcha getcha, getcha.”
“Hey, I know I’m a clown,” the second voice said. “He’s just running around acting like one. Doesn’t know he is one.”
The stunt sickened Perry Beam, who came to the fair in Sedalia with his wife and a student from Taiwan to “give him a little piece of Americana.”
Beam likened the atmosphere to a Klan rally.
“It wasn’t clean; it wasn’t fun. It was awful; it was sickening,” Beam said, “It was racist.”
The student, Jameson Hsieh, recorded a video of the incident, but had little to say afterward.
“He didn’t say anything. We rode all the way home in silence,” said Beam, who lives 50 miles away in Higginsville. “We were just ashamed, and he didn’t ask any more questions. I think he had seen enough. It is just disgusting.”
Condemnation came from organizers and politicians alike. The Missouri State Fair Commission called it “unacceptable” and said the clown has been banned “from ever participating or performing at the Missouri State Fair again.”
“The commission reiterated that the statements and actions Saturday night were inappropriate and not in keeping with the fair’s standards,” the agency said in a written statement. “The Missouri State Fair apologizes for the unconscionable stunt.”
The board of directors at Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association also issued an apology.
“The Sport of Rodeo is not meant to be a political platform. We are taking measures by training and educating our contract acts to prevent anything like this from ever happening again,” a statement on the group’s website said. “All Members of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association are very proud of our Country and our President.”
And Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder called for those responsible to be held accountable.
“I condemn the actions disrespectful to POTUS” — president of the United States — “the other night,” he said in a post to his official Twitter account. “We are better than this.”
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill echoed Kinder.
“The state fair is funded by taxpayer dollars, and is supposed to be a place where we can all bring our families and celebrate the state that we love,” she said. “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.”
CNN’s Dave Alsup contributed to this report