By Soyeon Park
“It all started with the original It,” said Pam Moody, the president of the World Clown Association (WCA), “It’s not a clown and has nothing to do with the clowning profession.”
Andy Muschietti’s movie It, based on Stephen King’s novel, has been a huge success in the box office since its release on 8th September. The movie is mainly about an evil clown named Pennywise who kidnaps children. Pennywise is traumatizing audiences all around the world, including the professional clowns who are losing gigs because of the negative association.
Clown groups such as the WCA says that their members are facing serious real threat to their livelihoods. As more kids watch the movie, more families are avoiding getting clowns for their parties and more schools are canceling clown-related shows.
This isn’t the first time that professional clowns are having trouble. The clown phobiatic (a.k.a. coulrophobia) happenings all started fall of 2016, by groups of people that disguised as evil clowns wandering around in bizarre places, luring and threatening passersby on the streets and schools.
The phenomenon spread out from North America to all around the world. During that time, coulrophobia went viral, and even McDonalds reduced the number of display models of their clown mascot, Ronald McDonald. This incident, called ‘2016 Clown Sightings’, blindsided the WCA.
A WCA member experienced a direct disadvantage from the 2016 clown sightings recently. She arrived early at a child’s birthday party dressed as a clown and waited inside her car. In a few minutes, there were police officers surrounding her car. Somebody had reported the supposed clown sighting to the police.
Many clowns are struggling to distance themselves from evil images such as Pennywise’s in numerous ways such as not painting their faces white. “We have tried to keep true to the roots of a clown while trying to modernize and update the look and feel,” said George Blackstone, president of Clowns.com, a party clown-rental organization.
This is no time to be clowning around.