Tuffy Gessling, the rodeo clown who came under fire over a stunt involving an Obama mask during the Missouri State Fair, has received five death threats over the incident, KCTV reported Monday.
“I’ve had somebody threaten to run me over. One of them wanted to burn the house down,” he told the Kansas City station.
“I’ve had one lady spit in my face, called me a dirty name, spit in my face and walked off,” he added.
According to the Missouri chapter of the NAACP, the skit constituted “targeting and inciting violence against our president,” prompting the president of the state chapter to demand an investigation by the Secret Service and the Department of Justice.
But Gessling says the skit was part of a tradition that goes back years and was all in good fun.
“I didn’t do this to do any hating on anyone. I did this to be funny. I did it to be a joke,” he told KCTV. “I didn’t think anything more of it than what we’ve done 15 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago, when we’ve done it with Bush, Clinton and Ronald Reagan.”
Neither politics nor race had anything to do with the stunt, he added.
“I actually think that a lot of people have lost their ability to laugh,” he said. “Look at the country as a whole, there is a lot more to be mad at than a rodeo clown at a rodeo trying to make somebody laugh.”
The Washington Times said Gessling hasn’t worked since the incident, but has a rodeo coming up in Jefferson City.
“If President Obama turns out, I would be honored to shake his hand,” he said.
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