In an interview with Atlanta magazine Thursday night, beloved Atlanta street performer Baton Bob detailed a harrowing experience he had Wednesday afternoon on the corner of Cheshire Bridge and LaVista Road when the city’s self-appointed “ambassador of mirth” says he was threatened and called a gay slur. Baton Bob, a.k.a. 60-year-old Atlanta floral designer Bob Jamerson says he was in a drum majorette costume consisting of black shorts with camouflaged trim, a white mesh top, black Skechers with gold tassels and a black hat “spreading joy” to onlookers Wednesday when “a black male between 25 and 35” began taunting him.
“I was into my thing and when I turned around, he was six inches from my face, yelling ‘Damn faggot!’ and threatening to kill me,” Jamerson says. “I had to go into major majorette composure.”
So, Baton Bob did what any good majorette would do in this situation — He blew his whistle in his alleged assailant’s face. “Twenty mother [expletive] times” to be exact, according to Jamerson.
Says Baton Bob: “Finally, he backed off and went back across the street. I made a beeline for the Showcase photography store and asked them to call 911.” Jamerson says this is not his first encounter with the individual. “I know who he is. But this time I’m gonna put the bitch in jail. By his body language, I could tell he’s a dangerous person and he caught me completely off guard. If I had had a gun tucked inside my outfit, I would have pulled it out and blown his brains out, no question about it.”
On Thursday, Jamerson says the Atlanta Police Department’s gay and lesbian liaison called him and “instructed me on how to go about filing a police report on the incident so they can begin an investigation. He was sweet as pie too.” Jamerson says he also plans to file a restraining order against the alleged individual.
Theorizes Baton Bob: “I think he’s living life on the down low and when he sees someone like me, I intimidate him. This is the fourth time he’s gotten in my face. But this was by far the most severe incident.”
After the street performer tweeted about the incident via his @TheBatonBob Twitter account, Jamerson has been feeling the social media love. “Long live Baton Bob! He makes me happy and the other guy is a nut,” tweeted fan Dallas Rose Mueller. A fan using the Twitter name Ms. Gentle tweeted, meanwhile: “Atlanta loves you. Stay safe and carry a BIG baton.”
Jamerson says he is grateful for the support. “This is the last time he’s going to do this to me,” he says. “I don’t have time for his mother [expletive] ass. I need to be out there, spreading joy!”