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Of the many nightmares he's conjured, one of the most iconic characters legendary horror author Stephen King has created is Pennywise the Dancing Clown - a creature of unspeakable evil that disguises itself as a clown. Pennywise is the primary antagonist of King's novel It, and the killer clown is making a comeback in the newest adaptation. But as well-received as the new It movie is, not everyone is looking forward to the movie because Pennywise's return has ironically affected his clown ilk in the worst ways possible.

No Clowning Around: The Clowns Don't Like Pennywise

'It' (2017) [Credit: Warner Brothers]
'It' (2017) [Credit: Warner Brothers]

In , the titular entity only known as "It" takes various forms to scare its victims, but the most iconic and frightening figure is his form. The clown created by was first brought to nightmarish life by Tim Curry in the beloved '90s ABC miniseries. Now, is the new Pennywise and early reactions to the new It claim that it's among the most terrifying King adaptations of all time.

Because It looks like it's going to terrify its audience, real life clowns are preparing for a string of bad press and scared children. In fact, the World Clown Association () has prepared a press kit, titled WCA Stand On Scary Clowns!!, that's meant to act as damage control and a form of reassurance for potentially worried clients.

Read the full statement below.

We at the World Clown Association are proponents of positive, family-friendly entertainment. We believe the art of clown is something to be treasured and enjoyed by audience's world-wide. We bring a happy, joyful, creative, caring, positive, and fun experience to our audiences.

We understand that some people enjoy the "horror genre" of entertainment, but we find that many people are confronted by images of horror characters (impersonating clowns) and are startled by them...which is obviously the goal of these horror characters. In my opinion, these horror characters are not clowns.

Even the character in the movie “IT” should be understood to be a fantasy character – not a true clown. Just as a Haunted House event may have a "doctor" wearing surgical gear, carrying a bloody chainsaw, people need to understand that this character is NOT a real doctor. He is a person portraying an evil character in order to scare people. In the same way, people dressed as horror clowns are not "real clowns." They are taking something innocent and wholesome and perverting it to create fear in their audience. Please understand, just because someone wears a rubber Halloween mask, that does not make one a clown! The horror movie character, “Jason,” wears a hockey goalie mask. But, people would be mistaken if they actually thought he was a hockey player!

We disavow any relationship with these “horror characters.” We stand with our safety officers who call for an end to the traumatization of individuals and communities by horror characters in public. Anyone making a threat of violence should be arrested, whether this person is wearing a mask or not. This clearly is not the act of a professional clown.

The World Clown Association shares laughs and "comic relief" everywhere for the positive, wholesome, enjoyment of their audiences. It is true that various horror clown portrayals work against our goal. We hope our audience realizes that there are different categories in entertainment. We stay on the positive side of things providing fun, grated, child-friendly entertainment. We also recommend that young children not be exposed to horror movies which are intended for mature audiences.

The events in question were the "evil clowns" sightings of 2016. These 'evil clowns' were pranksters dressed as clowns who stood ominously in random locations, such as road intersections or a few meters away from schools. Even if the clowns often wielded weapons, there were no reported acts of violence, although their presence was enough to put communities across multiple states on edge.

The clown hysteria got to a point where schools banned clown costumes, and armed vigilante groups were formed to hunt down the clowns. This affected the livelihoods of legitimate clowns and saw them lose guest appearances at events such as parties. In response, part-time haunted house clown Jordan Jones started the online movement "Clown Lives Matter," which aims to distinguish legitimate clowns from the 'evil clowns'.

With the impending release of It, which is also expected to attract a huge audience, clowns and the members of the WCA are preparing for the worst and hoping to minimize the bad publicity their line of work could receive.

Pennywise And The Impact It Had On Real-Life Clowns

'It' (1990) [Credit: ABC/Warner Brothers]
'It' (1990) [Credit: ABC/Warner Brothers]

Even before Bill Skarsgard inherited the Pennywise mantle from Tim Curry, It was partially to blame for the continued stigma that clowns have today. In fact, Moody holds Pennywise's first cinematic appearance responsible for popularizing (if not starting) the 'evil clown' fad.

"It all started with the original "It." 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 blames the It miniseries for its negative interpretation of clowns because it hinders real life clowns from delivering their cheerful, positive and important messages to kids. Moody herself plays Sparky the Firefighter Clown, who teaches lessons about fire safety, and she doesn't like how Pennywise's legacy gives her job unnecessary complications.

Stephen King has since apologized to the mob of angry clowns, but the author still stands by his interpretation of Pennywise and clowns in general.

What do you think of Pennywise's impact on real life clowns and the whole Evil Clown trend? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]

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