Officials from the Missouri State Fair are busy putting out fires after the organizers of the fair’s bull riding exhibit brought a clown in an Obama mask into the ring and goaded the bull into chasing him around the enclosure.
Videos of the racially-charged incident began circulating across local news organizations shortly after it took place on Saturday evening, and public consternation was quickly followed by condemnations from Republican Party officials and lawmakers across the state.
The Kansas City Star described what transpired:
“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.”
Another clown then apparently joined the performance.
“One of the clowns ran up and started bobbling the lips on the mask and the people went crazy,” the posting said. “Finally a bull came close enough to him that he had to move so he jumped up and ran away to the delight of the onlookers hooting and hollering from the stands.”
The annual state fair is held in Sedalia, a small, deep-red town less than 100 miles outside of Kansas City. Republican Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder quickly responded to the incident via Twitter, writing “I condemn the actions disrespectful to POTUS the other night. We are better than this.” Democrats from U.S Senator Claire McCaskill to Governor Jay Nixon also expressed disappointment and outrage after the incident.
A similar incident occurred at another rodeo last year, where a rodeo clown in California was fired after telling a racist joke about Michelle Obama posing nude for National Geographic.
Officials from the state fair issued a public statement via its Facebook page on Sunday evening, calling the performance “inappropriate and disrespectful.”