Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed suit Thursday against a circus that billed itself as Chinese when it appeared in Springfield, but actually featured Caucasian performers wearing silk beanies and black wigs. And the two-headed pig? It was dead and stuffed and the second head had been sewn on. The lawsuit asks the court to bar the circus from performing again in Illinois. It also seeks restitution for consumers and more than $400,000 in fines.
The Great Circus of China performed twice March 14 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Afterward, people who attended the show complained to The State Journal-Register and the attorney general’s consumer fraud division. The troupe promoted its Springfield performances as its “first appearance in this hemisphere from behind the Great Wall of China.” Advertisements said the circus boasted Chinese acrobats, a Chinese lion dance and an “authentic Chinese cultural experience.” But instead, circus-goers saw Caucasian performers in Chinese disguises.