The upcoming film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 horror novel It, which features a terrifying killer clown named Pennywise, has grown into a pop culture phenomenon, and actual professional clowns are not happy about it. Stephen King himself pretended at first to be sympathetic, but, as reported by The Huffington Post, he finally let his true colors shine through regarding the clowns’ qualms with a recent tweet. It’s pretty harsh.
Career clowns being ticked off at the mainstream explosion of coulrophobia (fear of clowns) resulting from the recent revival of Stephen King’s classic is nothing new. Back in October, the TInquisitr noted that a squadron of those earning their livings as clowns had banded together to form the “Clown Lives Matter” movement. The movement attempted to capture the public spotlight in order to spread the message that Stephen King’s work had lied about clowns, who are actually wholesome entertainers. Maybe it was because people have trouble taking clowns too seriously, but the movement failed to gain any significant traction.
At the time, Stephen King himself supported the clowns’ message in a post from his heavily followed Twitter account.
Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria--most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 3, 2016
That was the end of King’s contribution to the movement, but the clowns persevered.
It seems that, although King fell silent, he continued to follow the issue. It is possible his continued fascination with Clown Lives Matter is because he is fascinated by the real-life movement his own work has created, or it might be because Stephen King is constantly reminded by the clowns themselves that he is responsible for damaging their livelihood. Either way, another tweet he posted yesterday shows he is about fed up.
The clowns are pissed at me. Sorry, most are great. BUT...kids have always been scared of clowns. Don't kill the messengers for the message.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 10, 2017
The tweet is a pretty ruthless #SorryNotSorry, and probably not the kind of publicity the clowns want to see. With it, Stephen King reiterates something he has gone on record as saying before, albeit never in such a public forum: that clowns are just inherently creepy and that King was simply acting as a passive vessel for that fear when he wrote It.
“I chose Pennywise the Clown as the face which the monster originally shows the kiddies because kids love clowns, but they also fear them,” Stephen King told the Bangor Daily News, a local Maine newspaper, back in 2016.
“Clowns with their white faces and red lips are so different and so grotesque compared to ‘normal’ people. Take a little kid to the circus and show him a clown, he’s more apt to scream with fear than laugh.”
The clowns can count themselves lucky King only tweeted a watered-down version of his complete thoughts.
Basically, King is saying that people have been afraid of clowns forever and would be just as scared of them even if It had never been written. Pedestrian strengthens King’s stance by pointing out that people have been dressing as clowns and scaring people since serial killer John Wayne Gacy started the trend in the ’70s.
King and most of the news sources covering the story may be missing the point, though. Clown Lives Matter is not arguing that Stephen King’s It actually created the fear of clowns from nothing; or, at least, that is not the extent of their argument. Their greater point is that the book, the iconic 1990 TV miniseries adaption, and now the movie, due in September, have all brought to the surface the public fear that may have existed in some capacity all along.
The issue seems to have come to a head with last week’s release of the first teaser trailer for It, which smashed the record for the most-viewed movie trailer ever — it got over 246 million Youtube views in just the first 36 hours it was up, according to /Film.
“It’s gonna be bad for clowns,” said 42-year-old professional clown Guilford Adams after viewing the It trailer.
Obviously, Stephen King’s It is going to be released as planned on September 8. Do the Clown Lives Matter protesters have a point, though, and is King’s response valid? Let us know your opinion in the comments section below.