Rodeo Clown Stirs Controversy After Making Racist Joke About First Lady
CRESTON (CBSLA.com) — A rodeo clown didn’t leave many people laughing in San Luis Obispo County this past weekend when he made a racist joke about first lady Michelle Obama.
Michael Hayhurst, a professional rodeo clown and barrelman, got on the PA system at the 17th Annual Creston Classic Rodeo Saturday and said, “Playboy is offering Ann Romney $250,000 to pose in the magazine, and the White House is upset about it because National Geographic only offered Michelle Obama $50 to pose for them.”
Parents at an Excelsior Charter School in Victorville said they can’t believe it, especially because Hayhurst serves as the school’s superintendent.
“I just think they should keep things to themselves, opinions to themselves, because they can get into a lot of trouble,” mother Susan McGinn said.
“He can say what he wants to say, but he has to remember he’s in a public position, so he needs to think about it before he speaks,” mother Aubrey Sweatt said.
Victorville Unified School District officials said they will release a statement about the incident at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
Hayhurst’s wife, Jeanette, spoke to CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Rachel Kim outside the couple’s home in Barstow. She said her husband is recovering from a concussion he suffered shortly after the rodeo.
Jeanette said people are calling her husband saying they want him to die.
The clown’s wife said she wants everyone to know his comments were meant to be humorous.
“He has many friends of different races, and he’s a rodeo clown and does some comedy and, sometimes, maybe pushes the edge…it was not intended to offend anyone,” she said.
“I irresponsibly told a joke that many people found offensive, and I apologize. This was a joke I read in 2010 and chose to recycle it during this election season,” Michael Hayhurst said in a written statement.
Hayhurst’s wife defended her husband’s right to say the joke, but not his reasoning.
“We do have freedom of speech, which he exercised, but not with all the judgment he should have,” Jeanette said.
Jeanette Hayhurst said her husband will be at home resting for the rest of the week.
District officials may decide at Tuesday’s meeting whether Hayhurst will be returning to work.