Rodeo clown spurs controversy with gender jokes at Michigan fair

A rodeo clown spurred controversy when he joked about gender identity during an event in Michigan earlier this month.

WILX-TV reported Monday the incident happened at the Calhoun County Fair on Aug. 18. A witness at the event took a video and sent it into the station and said that many people had left after the man’s attempt at comic relief.

"You're either a boy or a girl, y’all understand," ‘Rockin’ Robbie Hodges said. “If you’re confused then you need help, okay? Everybody in here who's really sure they're a boy raise your hand. If you can tinkle on a fire you go to the boys room, if you can't, you go to the girls room, right?"

Hodges was an independent contractor for Lost Nations Rodeo Company.

According to the station, some people in the crowd started to laugh. However, a witness at the event said that many people had left after Hodges’ attempt at comic relief. Fair officials echoed the witness’ sentiments.

"I was very disappointed, because we do not put on a platform for that to happen here," Megan Harvey, executive director for the Calhoun County Fair, told WILX-TV.

Lost Nations Rodeo apologized for the Hodges’ display, but said he was paid as an independent contractor for his performance.

"Lost Nations Rodeo was unaware that those comments would be made and were off script. Hodges is a well-decorated entertainer, and while we appreciate his services, we do not share the same views or opinions,” the company said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize again to all of our fans and look forward to entertaining you in the future.”

Harvey said that it was the second year the fair used Lost Nations Rodeo for the fair. She said they conducted research and heard really good reviews about the company.

"We've had really good reviews on them with several other fairs," Harvey added. "We check out where they've been and make sure they have a good following and this has never come up at all."

It’s unclear whether fair organizers will invite the rodeo company back next year.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Mr. Hodges was fired