The rodeo clown who created a maelstrom of controversy for a mocking depiction of President Obama at the Missouri State Fair earlier this month said he has received five death threats for his controversial performance.
“I’ve had somebody threaten to run me over. One of them wanted to burn the house down,” Tuffy Gessling told Kansas City, Mo.-area TV station KCTV.
He said one woman “called me a dirty name, spit in my face and walked off.”
Missouri state and fair officials moved quickly to ban Gessling after he donned a mask of Obama at the fair while an announcer asked people if they want to see the president “run down by a bull.”
Gessling said he never intended to show disrespect to the president and denied his performance was racist, as some critics have charged, adding he would be “honored to shake [Obama's] hand.”
“I didn’t do this to do any hating on anyone. I did this to be funny. I did it to be a joke,” Gessling said.
“I never did anything because of anybody’s race. I don’t care what color somebody is. If they’re blue, white, green, polka dotted, striped … it doesn’t bother me one bit.”
Gessling said making fun of politicians is an age-old comedic tool and that some people have taken his Obama clown act much too seriously.
“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.”