- The Washington Times - Monday, August 26, 2013

The controversial rodeo clown banned for life from the Missouri State Fair for wearing a President Obama mask and mocking that a bull should run him down spoke out Monday about the death threats and fallout since the incident.

“I’ve had one lady spit in my face, called me a dirty name, spit in my face and walked off,” Tuffy Gessling told KCTV 5 News.

“I’ve had somebody threaten to run me over. One of them wanted to burn the house down,” he added.

Mr. Gessling made headlines nationwide after the event on Aug. 10, even making his way to the White House press corps, as spokesman Josh Earnest said, “as a native Missourian, it’s certainly not one of the finer moments for our state.”

The NAACP said the skit constituted “targeting and inciting violence against our president” and provides the basis for a federal investigation.

“I didn’t do this to do any hating on anyone. I did this to be funny. I did it to be a joke,” Mr. Gessling 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.”

The rodeo clown insisted neither race nor politics had anything to do with his stunt.

“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.”

Mr. Gessling hasn’t worked since the incident, but he has a rodeo coming up in Jefferson City.

“If President Obama turns out, I would be honored to shake his hand,” he said.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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