A creepy Staten Island clown has been scaring residents and tourists for two weeks. Although the clown has not harmed anyone, its unexplained appearance has frightened numerous people. The clown is even more creepy, as it bears a striking resemblance to Pennywise the Dancing Clown from Stephen King's horror classic It.
The Staten Island clown gained national attention, as several people posted photos on social media sites. According to witnesses, the character was spending most of its time near the Grasmere and Richmond Valley Railway stations.
Although it took several weeks to identify the source, residents and visitors can be assured that the clown was simply a publicity stunt.
A majority of the sightings, and all of the photos, were posted by four people: Vincent Innocente, Robert Privitera, Michael Leavy, and comedian Vic Dibitetto. All four are associated with a film company called Fuzz on the Lens Productions.
When approached about the incident, Leavy initially denied involvement:
"I think he's funny... so if people want to think it's me or whoever I won't stop them, maybe I should go get a clown suit though, hopefully they are not sold out."
Kinda insulted by all these #SIClown accusations...we're not just a "horror film company." We're funny too...I swear. #WeCanProveIt
— Fuzz on the Lens (@FuzzOnTheLens) March 25, 2014
However, he later admitted an association with the other three who reported sightings. As reported by Staten Island Live, Leavy said he and his colleagues are simply "trying to get as many people associated with Fuzz on the Lens as possible."
How much would it cost for the #siclown to come to my birthday party?
— Warden of the North (@YungBasedMikee) March 25, 2014
As a publicity stunt, the Staten Island clown worked. As many people are frightened by clowns, the hashtag #SIClown soon went viral. Although many people were frightened about the prospect of meeting a clown in a dark ally, others were amused by the photos.
Everywhere else jealous they ain't got a clown #SIclown
— John Spo (@JohnSpo) March 25, 2014
Last October, a similar incident was reported in Northampton, England. The clown bore a striking resemblance to the Staten Island clown, and appeared under similarly mysterious circumstances. After gaining worldwide attention, the Northampton clown was revealed to be a 22-year-old documentary film maker.
Daily News reports that Alex Powell was identified by two photographers who watched him walk into his apartment wearing street clothes and emerge wearing the infamous clown outfit. Although Powell was simply trying to spread cheer, he was eventually forced to stop when he received death threats.
It is unclear whether Fuzz on the Lens Productions will use the Staten Island clown in an upcoming film or if they simply wanted attention.