Times are rough for professional clowns, and many of them are putting the blame on Stephen King.
A new adaptation of the author’s horror classic It has become one of the highly anticipated film releases of the season; however, many professional clowns aren’t so thrilled about the movie. In fact, they’re already preparing for more backlash and a loss in business.
"It all started with the original It," World Clown Association president Pam Moody told the Hollywood Reporter. She claimed that Pennywise—the movie’s iconic killer clown—fueled people’s collective fear of the clowning profession, but insisted the character was not a reflection of the line of work. "That introduced the concept of this character. It's a science-fiction character. It's not a clown and has nothing to do with pro clowning."
Moody said the fear of clowns also intensified last year after the wave of disturbing clown sightings across the country.
"Last year we were really blindsided,” Moody said about the terrifying clown sightings across the country. “We've since created a press kit to prepare clowns for the movie coming out.”
That kit, titled WCA Stand on Scary Clowns, reminds clowns that the true purpose of the art is to “bring a happy, joyful, creative, caring, positive, and fun experience to [their] audiences.”
But it isn’t clowns who need to be convinced. It’s the public.
“People had school shows and library shows that were canceled. That’s very unfortunate,” Moody said. “The very public we're trying to deliver positive and important messages to aren't getting them."
King has since addressed this issue, insisting Pennywise was not responsible for widespread coulrophobia (the fear of clowns).
It is set to hit U.S. theaters Sept. 8.