A Facebook group created Monday for Tuffy Gessling, the rodeo clown who was banned for life from the Missouri State Fair for wearing a President Obama mask during Saturday’s bull-riding event, has already gained more than 30,000 supporters who think he has been treated unfairly.
“This page was started to show support for Tuffy Gessling a rodeo entertainer that is taking heat for telling a joke that has been around for decades. Tuffy’s big sin? He dared to tell the joke using Obama,” the group’s description reads.
The page reached nearly 17,000 likes the day it was created alone.
On Tuesday, a page administrator posted a quote, allegedly by Voltaire: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
The quote is not confirmed to be by Voltaire, but the message is clear: Supporters of Mr. Gessling believe his free speech rights have been trampled.
“I’m afraid to comment, I might get audited!!” one commenter wrote.
Addressing the president directly, the petition states that “the events recently at the Missouri rodeo and the clown wearing a mask depicting your image, has created quite a stir. As you have stated, we need to have a discussion on this topic of racism and racial discrimination. However, I feel this is not what you had in mind. As this action by this rodeo clown does not distinguish you from past presidents, I do not relate this in any way to be racially charged. You are simply the sitting president at this time therefore it is your turn; it comes with the job.”
The petition has only gained 276 signatures at the time of this report and needs an additional 99,724 for the president to formally address it.