This Rodeo Clown Puts On An Obama Mask, and What Happens Next is Terrible

The Missouri State Fair is making unusual media waves today as reports surface about a rodeo clown who wore an Obama mask and asked the crowd if they wanted to watch "Obama run down by a bull."

The incident garnered media coverage when Perry Beam, a fairgoer who attended the rodeo with his wife and a Taiwanese exchange student, posted a video of the clown show on his Facebook page, which then made its way onto the blog Showmeprogress.com. Beam and others have gone so far as to hyperbolically compare the incident to a Ku Klux Klan rally.

Watch the rodeo footage here:


Although the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association refuses to comment, Missouri's Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder described the incident as "disrespectful" to the president and tweeted "We are better than this." Meanwhile, a spokesman for the state's Democratic governor, Jay Nixon, reassured the public that the performance "does not reflect the values of Missourians or the State Fair." The State Fair organizers and Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill also joined the voices of condemnation. The organizers asserted that the clown show "does not reflect the opinions or standards" of the fair, while McCaskill tweeted that "this incident is shameful."

While insinuating that the president deserves death by bull-running is indeed crude and a terrible example of political humor, it is hardly racist. Kinder, McCaskill, and the fair organizers are justified in condemning the incident for its crassness, but likening the rodeo to a Klan rally, or insinuating that a live dummy is a direct incitement to an attack on the president's person, goes entirely too far.

Every president has had to endure meritless caricatures, live or otherwise, of their person. A simple Google image search of "Bush clown," for instance, will turn up numerous pictures of Bush photoshopped as a clown. A website called the GOP Clown Show features one such picture on an article about how Americans still blame Bush for the economy.

Despite Beam's exaggerations and discomfort with the display, he is entirely correct when he asserts that the display was completely unacceptable in a state fair sanctioned by Missouri and funded by its taxpayers. State gairs are meant to unify the public and provide them with leisurely, family friendly pastimes, not create tension with divisive, crude political statements. As Beam told the press: "This isn't the Republican Missouri State Fair." 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Bryant Harris

Bryant Harris is a reporter with Inter Press Service News. He has worked in Muscat, Oman and was a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He graduated from UW-Madison in 2011 with a BA in Middle East Studies.

MORE FROM

Researchers show Twitter is far faster than the police at predicting riots

Tweets can predict a riot up to an hour before police, but that may not be a good thing.

China is building an incredibly cool "forest city" that will combat pollution

Sustainability and air quality are just the beginning.

Inside the dangerous operation to smuggle free information into North Korea

They use balloons, drones and networks of smugglers — who risk torture to bring flash drives into the DPRK.

Scientists just spotted 2 black holes flirting and dancing like awkward middle schoolers

The two could someday merge to become one.

I can't stop laughing at this amazing iOS 11 glitch that basically turns your texts into Jaden Smith tweets

One iOS 11 bug — god, I hope this is a bug — stands above the rest, and I can't stop laughing.

This biohacker implanted a transit card into his skin so he never has to get out his wallet

His name is Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, and he's got multiple chips in his arm.

Researchers show Twitter is far faster than the police at predicting riots

Tweets can predict a riot up to an hour before police, but that may not be a good thing.

China is building an incredibly cool "forest city" that will combat pollution

Sustainability and air quality are just the beginning.

Inside the dangerous operation to smuggle free information into North Korea

They use balloons, drones and networks of smugglers — who risk torture to bring flash drives into the DPRK.

Scientists just spotted 2 black holes flirting and dancing like awkward middle schoolers

The two could someday merge to become one.

I can't stop laughing at this amazing iOS 11 glitch that basically turns your texts into Jaden Smith tweets

One iOS 11 bug — god, I hope this is a bug — stands above the rest, and I can't stop laughing.

This biohacker implanted a transit card into his skin so he never has to get out his wallet

His name is Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, and he's got multiple chips in his arm.