Now, some clowns are pushing back against the idea that they’re just, you know, horrifying freaks who exist only to haunt our lives.
Clown attacks or sightings have been reported across the country over the past month, with harrowing harlequins from Alabama to Wisconsin injuring — or mostly just spooking — people. The creepy clown craze began in South Carolina after children reported clowns offering money to follow them into the woods.
In the words of everyone on the internet, NOPE.
In the Manhattan subway incident, a clown was blocking people from entering a subway train on Wednesday afternoon. A 16-year-old boy getting off a train caught the attention of the not-so-merry prankster, who took off after the teen. The boy bolted through a turnstile and up a flight of stairs, an NBC affiliate reported.
Since the first reports rolled in several months ago many sightings or threats from these grim creepers have been found to be fake. “Gags,” a clown who terrorized Green Bay, Wisconsin, by prowling the streets carrying black balloons, was revealed to be a marketing stunt.
But the fear is real. In Utah, where two schools recently closed amid threats of clown activity, law enforcement officials addressed a question posed by a resident who asked, "Can I shoot or take action against someone that is dressed up like a clown"? When it came again at a White House news briefing October 4, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said local law enforcement should “carefully and thoroughly” review any perceived threats to community safety.
Best-selling author Stephen King, who is probably to blame for half the country’s cases of coulrophobia for creating the murderous Pennywise clown in his 1986 horror novel, It, tweeted that people should stay calm.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 3, 2016
The clowns are not taking this lying down. An Arizona woman who goes by Nikki Sinn online attracted media attention for advertising an October 15 “Clown Lives Matter” march in Tucson via Facebook and fliers posted around the town.
"This is a peaceful walk to show clowns are not psycho killers. We want the public to feel safe and not be afraid. So come out, bring the family, meet a clown and get a hug!" according to her Facebook page. Attendees should feel free to wear full clown makeup or masks, the ads say.
Black Lives Matter representatives have suggested that the naming of the Arizona clown march is “insensitive.”
"The recent events in this country involving clowns has gripped the nation and caused an epidemic of fear," Rev. Reginald Walton, chairman of the Arizona Black Lives Matter campaign, told Central Arizona’s The Republic.
"The notion of a Clown Lives Matter rally is insensitive, as the issue of police brutality and violence is a serious issue and the clown issue is not as important.”
Sinn, in an interview with local Tucson news station KVOA.com, said her choice of name was “very innocent.” She just wants people to realize that some regular people make a living from being clowns, she said.