It has been hard out there for clowns thanks to the production of the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It. Pennywise returned to the screen after nearly three decades and the build has seen real clowns enter the spotlight in a negative way thanks to the horror of the story and the emergence of threatening clowns all across the United States. While the jury is still out on those frightening incidents all around the nation and their connection to the Warner Bros. horror smash, there might be a shade of doubt on the validity of some of this clown anger that preceded the film’s release.
Back in April, reports spread around indicating clowns were very angry with film after its first trailer was released. Some of those angry clowns seem to be very real, like Nick Kane and Gilly Adams who were facing issues back when the trailer was released and called clowning “a dying profession” that is already facing an uphill battle with kids. Some have also shared their anger with Stephen King and director Andy Muschietti, with the World Clown Association even releasing an official statement distancing real clowns from Pennywise, calling King’s creation a “fantasy character.”
Muschietti said that the clowns should be thanking him during a chat with TMZ, almost agreeing with the WCA’s statement when it comes to and saying the professionals should step up their game:
“I think, if anything, clowns are benefiting from the publicity. Clown fear is coming back, but you know there’s scary clowns and there’s nice clowns. So they should think what kind of clown they should be, right?”
But the seed of doubt comes into play courtesy of a report by NBC 4 in New York. An alleged clown protest outside of a New York City theater was revealed to have been a fake during a segment on WOR 710, with the reported business called Clowns In Town reportedly only sprouting up in the days before the rally was announced. NBC 4 ran the initial report that features parallels to the previous stories on clown anger towards King’s work:
“Last week, my partner and I had six cancellations of birthday parties,” he said Tuesday. “I have heard reports from other clowns, in New York and other cities, that they have been canceled as well…
“Our hope is to raise enough awareness so when people think of clowns they won’t think of scary murderers but people who dedicate their lives to bringing joy.”
When confronted by radio hosts Len Berman and Todd Schnitt, Clowns In Town’s alleged owner admitted to the ruse, telling them, “You’ve exposed me…Look, this is gonna get me in a little bit of trouble. We were hired to do this for promotional purposes.” He didn’t indicate that New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. were behind the promotion and the studio did not provide confirmation to NBC 4, it is possible that they weren’t directly behind the stunt.
While it might be true, the fear of clowns is still a very real thing. This would just prove some of the suspicions we’ve had in the past were either true or were used as inspiration. If all of the angry clowns were just promotion for the film, you’d have to admit that it worked pretty well.