Circus-goer: Clown ripped my hair out’

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A Queenstown woman has been put off the circus, claiming a clown painfully yanked her hair out. 

Jodie Thompson, 35, attended Circus Aotearoa in Queenstown with her mother and three children last Friday when she claims a performer ripped some of her hair out and placed it on another audience member’s bald head. 

Thomp­­­­­­son, seated ringside, says she believes it was the ringmaster who was dressed as a clown. 

Thompson says she thought the performer was having some fun ruffling her hair until she claims he tore about eight strands out. 

The early childhood teacher says her head hurt for an hour afterwards. 

“You shouldn’t be touching people’s bodies like that, it was quite violating.” 

Thompson, gifted the tickets to the circus featuring graduates in circus arts from Christchurch Polytechnic, says she’s glad she didn’t have to pay as she felt the performance was substandard. 

“I’d never go back – I’ve been to circuses since I was a little girl and I couldn’t believe it,” she says. 

Thompson’s mother Heather Thompson says she’s fuming and can’t believe what happened. 

“I could see these strands. I thought, ‘What in the hell is he doing?’ and the next thing he yanked it,” Heather says. 

“You can’t just go round doing that to people.” 

Circus co-director Paddy Gordon says the clown was just interacting with the crowd and he claims only pulled one strand of hair out. 

“I can’t really see how it is an issue, clowns play around,” he says. 

“I think the real issue is how PCness is killing a lot of things.” 

Gordon says audience members sitting in the front row are warned the performers will interact with them – it says so on the tickets. 

The circus, which had a four-show run last weekend at Queenstown’s Warren Park, near Wakatipu High, kicks 
off in Gore tomorrow.