If you’ve watched either of the first two episodes of American Horror Story: Freak Show, then no doubt you’ve peed a little bit in your pants over Twisty the Clown, the crazed, sadistic, killer clown that’s knifing some people to death and holding others hostage. We’re talking about Michael Meyers, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Saw-level scary here.
That hasn’t been lost on a group called Clowns of America International (?), which has a real problem with the way clowns are depicted on the FX show.
“We do not support in any way, shape or form any medium that sensationalizes or adds to coulrophobia or ‘clown fear,'” the group’s president Glenn Kohlberger told The Hollywood Reporter. “Hollywood makes money sensationalizing the norm.”
Sensationalizing or not, Twisty the Clown is straight up scary as hell.
— AmericanHorrorStory (@AHSFX) October 10, 2014
THR traces our fears of clowns back pretty far, but more recently, they say the Joker, Batman’s nemesis, Stephen King’s It and John Wayne Gacy has something to do with it. It doesn’t help that someone is running around the Bakersfield, CA area dressed like a clown and brandishing weapons. So in the US in particular, it’s a fear with deep roots.
Separate but related, in journalism school, a classmate from Russia wrote a story about clowns and said she didn’t understand why Americans feel this way because people enjoy them very much in her country. So different strokes for different folks.
The CAI is fighting an uphill battle here; established dismay and the AHS treatment will make it difficult for Mr. Kohlberger (aka Clyde D. Scope) to change perceptions. With the exception of talking with THR obviously, he says his approach is to not “play” into it by paying it any attention. Anyone with any PR background knows that pretending an issue doesn’t exist is not the strategy for making it go away.