In August 2016 there were reports of "creepy clowns" in South Carolina, a southeastern US state. Police there received reports of clowns trying to entice children into the woods, standing in their gardens, and knocking on doors.
Since then, there have been reports of creepy clowns accosting people across the US and other parts of the Western world. In Germany last week, there were several reported "horror clown" attacks, including clowns wielding chainsaws and baseball bats.
The problem has also spread to Brazil, where local clowns in the state of Rio Grande do Sul held a demonstration on Friday in the state capital Porto Alegre, in the hope of saving the reputation of professional clowns.
"Straightaway they start saying, after all this news from across the world and in Brazil, because of this trend from the US, 'look – they are killer clowns'."
"This has started to affect me. Customers are canceling work, replacing clowns with something else. This is one of the oldest professions in the world. Our goal is to bring joy to everybody, from babies to 100-year-olds," Brandao said.
"We want people to see us and say, 'look, what a great clown, he's a professional.' We don't want people to compare us to people who put on our clothes, and masks, not even make-up, who carry knives and axes and other things. They are using our likeness to spoil our image. It's like me putting on the clothes of any other profession and attacking people."
"We will continue to fight, and we have planned another clown show on Monday. We will continue until it becomes clear to everybody that we are not to blame for this new fashion, for what they are doing. We just want that recognition. We are real clowns, real professionals in the art of bringing joy to people."