It’s fair to say it hasn’t been a banner 12 months for clowns.
Cast your mind back to the late summer of 2016 and you may recall multiple headlines about face-painted dickheads terrorising defenceless children and jumping out on bewildered pedestrians waiting for the cash machine. It wasn’t particularly good for business.
And now, after the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of Stephen King’s It racked up 197 million views in its first 24 hours online – the most ever in that period – they’re saying their good(ish) name has been besmirched yet again.
Despite ranking very highly on a lot of people’s personal phobia lists, clowns are supposed to be comic entertainers; loveable buffoons; cuddly idiots; excellent jugglers. Killer clowns like It’s infamous Pennywise (actually a shape-shifting entity that takes the form of a clown) don’t match any of those descriptions.
The real clowns are are furious. "It's a horror movie and it affects people's thoughts and opinions on what a clown is,” Celine, a Glasgow-based clown who goes by the name of Tickles, told The Press Association. "Unfortunately it's not like Jaws which is unrealistic, we do have clowns in society.
"I have parents and teachers phoning me. They're scared to hire you in case they've got one child who will be upset." Ignoring the fact that a shark eating someone in the sea is possibly more realistic than spotting a magical demon clown peeking out of the drain, it’s hard not to feel a bit sorry for the poor clowns, especially as people depend on it for a living and the industry has barely recovered from last year’s fiasco.
Matthew Faint (Mattie the Clown) from east London's clown museum had some even stronger opinions on the issue. “It's a horrible movie and we'd like to distance ourselves from the subject of scary clowns,” he said at a clown convention in Bognor Regis, according to Newsbeat. "There's just so many horrible movies out there... clowns that eat people or whatever.
"It takes people's minds in the wrong direction. We don't need it, it's bad, it's disgusting."
Again, we sympathise with the clowns’ situation, but unfortunately for them, they do make pretty good horror villains. We think there’s room in society for both Pennywise and the smiley balloon animal-makers.
Just wait until the oversized, hat-wearing cats of the world get wind of this.