This is part of a series of articles to combat coulrophobia (the fear of clowns), educate the uninformed public about the consequences of masquerading as “scary clowns”, and defend #REALCLOWN. CLICK HERE to read the other articles to help combat the “creepy clown” stereotype.
These copycat crimes need to stop.
I was thinking of posting links to all the recent police reports and arrests of people wearing scary clown masks, but…there are just too many coming in every day. It’s heart-breaking.
A week ago I was interviewed by Joe Mandak of the Associated Press about the recent string of so-called-clown sightings which have been terrorizing Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. He was very professional and he took my concerns seriously. You can probably find the article online if you google the headline “Send in the clown complaints”. It has been published in over 900 news sites since last week!
I am very relieved that this news story has been so widely published, because in it I am quoted:
“When people report these things it should be ‘someone dressed like a clown,’ because a real clown would never dress or do anything to scare anyone.”
This is something we need to get across in any dealings we have the media this Halloween season.
We need to make the journalists and law enforcement realize that they are perpetuating the problem when they use the term “clown” instead of “suspect wearing a rubber mask” or “person wearing a clown costume”.
It may seem like a insignificant difference to those not in our profession.
However, it made a big difference to professional clowns working in Tennessee when the TN Highway Patrol tweeted “THP says watch for clowns trying to lure children in to the woods. They are possibly predators. Call 911 or *847″
This was a highly unprofessional and thoughtless social media post. Last week, this tweet made many professional clowns in Tennessee afraid to drive to their gigs while wearing their costume, for fear of being called in to the police. This is an unfortunate result which could have been prevented.
Worse yet, even when the news outlets get the wording right, they decide to use a photo of a REAL clown doing their job. Sheesh! The Tennessee news site Clarksville Now tweeted “TN Dept. of Safety warns about possible child predators dressed as clowns”.
So they used a better description at least. But they used a photo of a Shriner whose clown name is Howdy. He’s a nice-looking clown with good make-up; not creepy at all! In this photo, Howdy is a very real clown doing a volunteer job with the Shriners, and now his good name and face are dragged through the mud because a social media account was too lazy to find a generic photo of an actual scary-looking fake clown. Again, this is unprofessional journalism.
Why is clowning treated differently?
Have you noticed that in these stories the factual wording only comes later — if at all — in the article? Never does the headline say “dressed in a clown costume” or “wearing a clown mask”. The headline simply addresses the suspect as “clown”.
What if these criminals had been wearing a different type of costume?
If, for example, all these sightings had been of a person wearing a zombie mask, would the headline read “Zombie attacked children waiting at bus stop”?
Or if the suspects wore bright yellow safety vests while terrorizing people, would the headline read “Neighborhood scared by construction workers”?
That doesn’t sound right, does it? A professional journalist would never write headlines like those.
So why is clowning treated differently?
I said this before, but it bears repeating:
- We need to make the news media and law enforcement realize that they are perpetuating the problem when they use the term “clown” instead of “suspect wearing a rubber mask” or “person wearing a clown costume”. A real clown would never knowingly frighten anyone.
All I ask is that the art of clowning be taken seriously as a real profession.
We tell jokes, but we are not a joke.
There is a difference.
If you speak with the media, please read these articles first:
- Why we won’t dress as scary clowns: http://mooseburger.com/moose/halloween-scary-clowns/
- Why we shouldn’t work at haunted houses: http://mooseburger.com/moose/whats-so-wrong-with-creepy-clowns/
- Avoid wearing your clown costume at Halloween: http://mooseburger.com/moose/halloween-holidays-clowns/
- Intention is everything: http://mooseburger.com/moose/creepy-clowns/
- When the media refuses to be impartial: http://mooseburger.com/moose/coulrophobia/
- Make improvements to your performance and be better than before.
- Post photos of your fun clown friends with the hashtag #REALCLOWN on social media
- Be a part of our letter-writing campaign to keep scary clown masks & costumes out of stores
- Hand out our cards educating people what a REAL CLOWN is
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Whether you want to join the circus, visit nursing homes, run your own birthday party business, paint faces, or twist balloons, there is something just for you at Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp.
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