News

Real Clowns Are Pissed the Movie 'IT' Is Causing Them to Lose Work

Clowns scare the shit out of a lot of people, and there are good reasons to be scared of clowns.

If you ask a clown why people are scared, one reason you'll hear is the movie IT. (Though, Pennywise is not the only terrifying clown in movie history.) The reboot of Stephen King's creepy clown masterpiece hits theaters Friday, and clowns across America believe they are suffering because of it. "People had school shows and library shows that were canceled," says World Clown Association president Pam Moody.

Clowns aren't going to take it sitting down on a unicycle. The WCA is preparing for a deluge of coulrophobia (fear of clowns) with the release of IT. That's because scary clowns are bad for business if you're a non-scary clown. Unfortunately for them, there have been a lot of the bad clowns lately, from American Horror Story to the spate of creepy clown sightings last fall.

"Last year we were really blindsided," Moody told The Hollywood Reporter of 2016's creepy clown parade. "We've since created a press kit to prepare clowns for the movie coming out."

The organization even released it's own stance on the clown menace, titled "WCA Stance on Scary Clowns !!" It attempts to contextualize the difference between Pennywise and your neighbor that sports a red nose on weekends. "[A] Haunted House event may have a 'doctor' wearing surgical gear ... [but] people need to understand that this character is NOT a real doctor ... In the same way, people dressed as horror clowns are not 'real clowns.'

"Please understand," it continues, "just because someone wears a rubber Halloween mask, that does not make one a clown!" The spirit of the statement may be true, but it's not likely to tamp down any individual's fear of the perpetually smiling.

Professional clowns are met with fear from adults, too, Moody says. She describes one WCA member who showed up to a birthday party early and sat in her car to wait. "She looks up and there are four police officers surrounding her," Moody says. "Someone in the neighborhood called in a clown sighting."

The film's producers think it's ridiculous. "It’s not as if a group of NHL goalies got up and protested Jason or a group of toy manufacturers protested Chucky," producer Seth Grahame-Smith told the USA Today. "There’s a long tradition in horror of these seemingly harmless things being perverted for that very reason, because they are seemingly harmless."

If scary clowns, which were a thing long before IT, are bad for business, you have to feel for professional clowns. IT is floating its way toward a record opening this week.

h/t THR

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record but has never met the fingernail lady. Follow him @dlukenelson.