A clown working the dunk tank for an annual festival in Memphis, Tennessee was fired after hurling racist taunts at Black visitors from his perch, WMC-TV reported.
“We heard over the loud speaker, someone said ‘Hey nappy head,'” one visitor, Tanya Jones, said about her encounter with the clown at the Delta Fair. “When we heard that, we looked at each other because we didn’t know who they were talking to.”
Jones, who was at the fair with her family, told WMC that she understood that dunk tank clowns are supposed to poke fun at customers to get them to play the game, but that this particular clown’s jokes crossed the line.
“He was like ‘yeah I’m talking to you, Sheneneh,'” Jones recalled. “He was like, ‘you look unbeweavable.'”
A sign posted in front of the tank states that clowns working there do not use profanity or obscene gestures. Fair president Mark Lovell told WMC that the clown was contracted by a separate company operating the dunk tank.
Fair organizers fired and replaced the clown who insulted Jones and her family, and refunded them their entrance fees, which totaled more than $100.
“We try to promote the Delta Fair as clean, safe and family friendly, and then you have this guy making comments,” fair president Mark Lovell told WMC. “We try to keep the comments funny, but without sexual connotations or without racial connotations.”
Watch WMC’s report on Jones’ run-in with the clown, as aired on Tuesday, below.
[Image: “clown portrait,” via Shutterstock]