The Missouri State Fair has permanently banned a rodeo clown whose imitation of US President Barack Obama has been widely criticised as disrespectful.

In a statement on Monday, fair officials said that the rodeo clown has been barred from ever performing at the fair again. 

They are also reviewing whether to take any actions against the contractor responsible for Saturday's rodeo.

During the event, a clown wore a mask of the US president and asked the spectators if they wanted to see "Obama run down by a bull''. Many in the audience responded enthusiastically.

The act was criticised by Democrats and Republicans alike after video and photos of the event were posted online.

Some Democratic Missouri lawmakers suggested on Monday that there should be financial consequences for the fair.

'Unconscionable stunt'

The fair said in the statement announcing the rodeo clown's lifetime ban that he had engaged in an "unconscionable stunt" that was "inappropriate and not in keeping with the Fair's standards''.

The fair's press release did not identify the clown.

The rodeo's announcer sought on Monday to distance himself from the clown's actions.

Announcer Mark Ficken said through an attorney that the clown was wearing a live microphone and had given the announcer no advance notice about his performance.

Ficken is president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association.

"He was as surprised as anyone with the appearance of an Obama-masked rodeo clown,'' attorney Albert Watkins said of his client.

Source: Agencies