Round Up The Rodeo Clowns: NAACP Official Calls For Rodeo Employees To Be Prosecuted For Hate Crime

futurememories_2268_871136468479px-Bull-Riding-SzmurloThere was a national controversy created recently when a rodeo clown, Tuffy Gessling, put together an act involving a President Barack Obama mask at the Missouri State Fair. The announcer reportedly called out “This bull’s going to get’cha, Obama! He’s gonna get’cha!” The reaction was fierce. Gessling was given a lifetime ban and the announcer, Mark Ficken, resigned. All clowns will now have to go through a “sensitivity training” course after the incident. However, The President of the Missouri Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Mary Radliff is calling for the prosecution of the key players for a hate crime. Radliff’s statements shows how broad this controversial crime has become and how it can now threaten free speech principles.

The criticism of this act is certainly understandable. It was stupid and disrespectful. However, some have questioned the need for the lifetime ban as opposed to an apology or being dismissed from this rodeo. I have seen presidents mocked and portrayed at many fairs and rodeos. I saw one fair where clowns chased around a guy in a Reagan mask during his presidency. I recall various events with people in Clinton masks. Presidents are public figures and people love to make fun of those in high places. I am not dismissing the fact that some have a deep hatred or racist view of the President. Clearly, many in the audience were hostile to Obama and loved the notion of his being chased by a bull. I am not sure what the sensitivity training will convey. Is it a lesson not to use presidents or politicians as clown-like characters. That has been done in circuses since ancient Rome. Is it not to use African-American celebrities?

We can disagree on what is the appropriate level of punishment. (I do feel that the display had an overtly political and disrespectful character that should be the subject of discipline). However, calling this a hate crime reaffirms the long-criticism of this criminal provision as a threat to free speech. As noted in a prior columns, free speech appears to be dying in the West with the increasing criminalization of speech under discrimination, hate, and blasphemy laws. To understand this threat to free speech, you need only read the interview with Ms. Radliff: “I think that a hate crime occurred,” Ratliff told KXNT Radio in Las Vegas Thursday. ”I think a hate crime occurs when you use a person’s race to depict who they are and to make degrading comments, gestures, et cetera, against them.”

So that is the crime now? Making degrading comments or gestures about a person’s race? That would criminalize a huge array of speech in the United States. In this case, Radliff objects to an act of being “disrespectful to our president, whether he be black, white, Hispanic, Latina.” She has called for the Justice Department and Secret Service to go after the rodeo clowns for their “discriminatory practices against our sitting African-American president.”

I fail to see the need to round up our rodeo clowns or criminalize parody. I do not like the use of actual people — whether presidents or not — in such acts because I feel it is mean-spirited and disrespectful. However it is not a crime. Moronic, yes but criminal, no. They are rodeo clowns which are by definition rather moronic.

What do you think? Should this be a crime? Do you believe a lifetime ban is appropriate for this type of display?

Source: CBS

152 thoughts on “Round Up The Rodeo Clowns: NAACP Official Calls For Rodeo Employees To Be Prosecuted For Hate Crime”

  1. This illustrates the problem with all discrimination laws. They will invariably evolve into thought crimes. There was no crime here. None. Nobody should be fired. If the organizers of the event consider the joke to be done in poor taste or that it expressed animus toward our President, then they should deal with it entirely in-house with setting up rodeo policies that would correct what they consider to be humor gone too far.

  2. lottakatz
    1, August 16, 2013 at 9:32 pm
    Woosty=^..^ I’m a simmering cauldron of hostility and inappropriate social responses. It’s why I don’t comment on a lot of threads; I couldn’t do it and not be banned. 🙂
    ooooooooooooooooh……..I still don’t see it.

    I think hostility is a realm for those with little reason…..anger, especially justified….is not as inappropriate these days as some would have us believe, In fact I think it may be absolutely essential….

  3. You are operating under the impression that I hold the Sunday talking head shows in any kind of esteem as reputable investigative journalism. They are not, nor were they ever intended to be, investigative journalism. They are hour long advertisements for partisan platform planks trying to sell you something every bit as much as Shark Vacuum Cleaners. They also have another thing in common: both products suck.

  4. 🙂

    Funny I see now I missed Sen Paul’s name in with the other clowns.

    Well time will tell the tale.

  5. **Gene H. 1, August 17, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Yes, there is great danger in taking your eye off the ball.

    Yet you persist, distracted by shiny objects.

    Gene H,

    Just look at the below lineups Clowns they wish us to watch. No wonder their ratings continue to collapse beyond record lows & Atl media outlets like infowars ratings are soaring.

    One danger from Jone/infowars is if the religious lunatics are able to ride on his coat tails & get into positions of power.

    At least those fruitcakes Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt & Romney are out of the picture for now.

    Guest lineups for the Sunday news (Clown) shows

    The Associated Press


    Guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows:

    ABC’s “This Week” —Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.; Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus; New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.


    NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Kelly; Ben Jealous, NAACP President and CEO; Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md.


    CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.; Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; Bobby Scott, D-Va.; Kelly.


    CNN’s “State of the Union” — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich.


    “Fox News Sunday” — Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.

  6. Richard Faust 1, August 17, 2013 at 2:34 am

    ** However, earlier this evening, and thanks to Drudge, I was able to access a series of videos, some very, very graphic, of the massacre in Cairo on Wednesday. **


    It’s rumored in the text of history that someone once asked Christoper Columbus what caused him to Sail West instead of East.

    Chris is said to have replied: I’d rather sail off the end the world then have to deal with those Ph’in , (in polite company: Arabs/Persians Muslims) one more time.

    Along with the ME’s problems of Fascist Govts/Theocracies also come with the problem of over breeding.

    Both here & there people & govts are unable to have a public discussion of that taboo topic yet it’s not going away.

    20-30 years ago I heard Egypt had a gen pop of around 40 million & that now it stands at around 80 mil.

    Now if the same happens again in 20 years they’ll have a gen pop of 160 mil. attempting to survive with far less natural resources then were available to earlier generations.


    China Begins Using Arctic Shipping Route That Could ‘Change The Face Of World Trade’

    Read more:

  7. Doesn’t a hate crime have to be a crime first? What crime did the clown commit? Possession with intent to distribute an unfunny routine? Joking while masked? Assault (verbal) with intent to ridicule?

  8. RTC,

    I won’t disagree with that, however, I will stipulate that it is not reassurance that I require. It’s Constitutionality and justice under the rule of law, not the rule by law. There are very few things I despise in the world. Fascists are at the top of the list.

  9. It wasn’t just that the rodeo clown felt empowered to ridicule the president of the United States with a stunt the conjures the worst aspects of a 19th Century minstrel show. It was that the crowd loved it. And no one in charge felt compelled to stop it.

    The Missouri State Fair, which receives more than $400,000 in taxpayer money, is supposed to showcase agriculture and rural living. Unfortunately, on Saturday it showcased Missouri’s darker history as a slave state slow to accept integration and a place with pockets of citizens who would still prefer to fly the Confederate flag.

  10. Gene sed: “…he simply provided ammo for the racists claiming a black man should have never been President in the first place.
    I think much of what he has done has been geared to demonstrate that a black man can be president and not screw things up by radically reversing all the policies that have come about since Reagan. He’s not trying to reassure folks like you or me, but the corptocratic oligarchs who control this country.

  11. “I do feel that the display had an overtly political and disrespectful character that should be the subject of discipline” – It’s a rodeo, not a church, for cryin’ out loud. Introducing sensitivity to a rodeo seems to be missing the point of rodeos, like training a dog not to bark.

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