The rodeo clown who sparked outrage after he wore a President Obama mask speaks out.
Tuffy Gessling says his act was just a joke but the event ignited a firestorm and now he's receiving death threats.
Gessling tells CNN affiliate KCTV, “I didn't do this to do any hating on anyone. I did it to be funny. I did it to be a joke.”
But those offended by the so-called joke call it racist.
“I've had someone threaten to run me over. One of them wanted to burn the house down,” Gesling says.
“This clown bit has been around for generations, and I didn't think anything more of it than what we've done 15 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years, when we've done it with Bush, and Clinton and Ronald Reagan.”
President Obama hasn't commented but White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest says, “I can tell you as a native Missourian, it's certainly not one of the finer moments for our state.”
Now that the dust has settled over his rodeo routine, Gessling hopes to set the record straight.
“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 is set to appear at another rodeo coming up in Missouri.
He says, “If President Obama turns out, I'd be honored to shake his hand.”