A man dressed as a clown and sitting on a dunk tank bench was fired this week by the Memphis Delta Fair as he hurled racial comments at a family walking by.
A sign near the clown warned the public that the clown would be insulting people in an effort to get them to take a chance at dunking him. The sign read, “The clown doesn’t use profanity or obscene jesters. We ask that you do the same. This is meant as a joke so if you don’t have a funny bone please don’t play.”
But one African American family felt that the clown’s taunts were racist, and they complained to fair organizers.
Memphis CBS affiliate Channel 6 reported that Tanya Jones said that she and her family were walking by the tank when the haranguing began. Jones asserted that the banter quickly turned racial. According to her, the clown taunted, “Hey, nappy head.”
There was little doubt that the clown was addressing her family, Jones said. At one point, she looked at him, and he said, “Yeah, I’m talking to you, Sheneneh. … You look unbeweavable.”
“I’ve never experienced anything like that before. I was really humiliated,” Jones later told WMC Action News 5.
Media reports noted that the clown was fired. The fair also returned nearly $100 in entrance fees to the family and issued an apology.
Delta Fair President Mark Lovell said, “We try to promote the Delta Fair as clean, safe and family friendly. We try to keep the comments fun without sexual and racial connotations.”
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