Professional clowns have complained that the viral trailer for the new film version of Stephen King’s IT is stoking anti-clown prejudice comparable to racism.
Outraged members of the clowning community lamented that the remake of the 1990 horror series – a trailer for which has recently taken the internet by storm – is entrenching negative perceptions about them.
The two-and-a-half-minute teaser broke after racking up 197 million views in just 24 hours. It’s safe to say lots of people are excited about the return of Pennywise the killer clown – but not clowns themselves.
Interviewed for Mel Magazine, several professional clowns voiced their ire at the negative portrayal of their community that could only be bad for those trying to hustle their benign balloon animals.
“It’s ruining our business,” said 33-year-old Angelino Nick Kane, aka “Mr. Nick”.
It’s not all fun and games for seasoned clown Guilford Adams, aka “Gilly”, either. He has been clowning for 20 years. “It’s gonna be bad for clowns,” he said.
He predicted a dearth of new clowning talent coming into the trade because of public opinion.
“It’s a dying profession,” said Adams. “And the people who do it and scrape together a living have to grapple with the fact that it’s cool and hip not to like clowns.”
Roger Fojas, aka “Humpy Pumpy,” aka “Ringmaster Roger”, has apparently never found his sinister choice of names to be a problem for parents looking to book someone to occupy their children.
But he checked his web traffic on Yelp in the days following the teaser’s release and it had dropped severely.
The IT teaser, contrary to what you’d imagine, isn’t actually that clown heavy. It relies more on ominous silences, rogue balloons drifting across the room, and the frightened expressions of children.
But this, many clowns feel, is enough to hinder their means of earning a living and stoke suspicions.
It’s something that has been brewing for awhile, said Fojas. As well as IT there have been films such as Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Poltergeist that gave the clowning community a bad rep.
He regards the reaction a film crew had to him on the set of a reality TV show for which he was hired as problematic. “I wouldn’t say it’s racist, per se, but it creates that kind of visceral reaction.”
Sinister-looking men who spend their time hanging out at kids parties are hardly a PR dream. But clowns have been having an especially rough time recently in the wake of viral “killer clown” pranks, which saw people dress up as clowns across America, carry weapons and jump out at people in the dead of night.
In some cases this caused emotional distress to unsuspecting members of the public. In others, it caused the impersonators to be beaten senseless by unsuspecting martial arts experts or baseball bat-wielders.
“Mr Nick” was his himself subject to prejudice because of the craze, when police arrested him essentially for looking like a clown.
King’s original 1,000-page 1986 novel was conceived after the first “Killer Clown” of modern history, John Wayne Gacy, aka “Pogo”, was outed as the murderer and rapist of numerous boys and young men.