At this point, clowns are more often associated with fear than with good times—and the Clowns of America International aren’t happy about it.
“Hollywood makes money sensationalizing the norm,” Glenn Kohlberger, the association’s president, told the Hollywood Reporter. “They can take any situation, no matter matter how good or pure, and turn it into a nightmare.”
The latest nightmare is American Horror Story: Freak Show’s Twisty, a clown who murders and locks up his victims in an old school bus. The character’s so scary that, according to showrunner Ryan Murphy, some people walked out of the premiere, unable to handle it. “I personally don’t have that phobia but I understand that people do,” Murphy told EW earlier this month. “To them I say, watch it in the daytime, because it only gets worse.”
Society’s clown issues can’t all be blamed on TV and movies though: A popular Chicago clown named John Wayne Gacy was arrested in 1978 for killing and raping dozens of young boys.
Either way, don’t expect the clowns of America to back your movie about creepy clowns. “We do not support in any way, shape, shape, or form any medium that sensationalizes or adds to coulrophobia or ‘clown fear,'” Kohlberger said. In other words: Don’t invite them you to your Freak Show viewing party.