Clowns have always had a bad rep thanks to their association with horror in pop culture.
But the threatening clown sightings that have plagued America for months and, more recently terrorised people closer to home here in the UK, aren’t making things any easier for the face-painted performers.
So people who make a living as legitimate clowns – who don’t try and lure young children into woods or chase people with knives – are taking a stand against the creeps who are dragging their profession through the dirt.
Enter: Clown Lives Matter.
Hundreds of clowns are set to march in a peaceful protest through Tuscon, Arizona next weekend, after feeling persecuted by the authorities’ crack down on clowns sighted in public.
The event organiser, Nikki Sinn wrote in a Facebook post that has since been deleted:
This is a peaceful walk to show clowns are not psycho killers.
We want the public to feel safe and not be afraid. So come out, bring the family, meet a clown and get a hug!
She was also interviewed by US Today, saying the name was ‘innocent’.
Of course, some people have taken offence to the clowns’ adoption of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign slogan, which protests the alarming and institutionalised statistical racism in the American police force.
Once I saw "Clown Lives Matter," I knew I could no longer take America seriously. This whole damn country needs to be placed in rice.
— Will (@Iad3uxieme) October 7, 2016
— Estevan Casas (@EstevanC530) October 6, 2016
Opens Twitter, sees "Clown Lives Matter" trending: pic.twitter.com/kLwZGq71iV
— TrivWorks (@TrivWorks) October 6, 2016
#BlackLivesMatter is a serious cause that means so much to a lot of people, so why is Clown Lives Matter a thing? That's a slap in the face
— Anders. (@officialanders_) October 6, 2016
Rev. Reginald Walton, chairman of the Arizona Black Lives Matter campaign, said:
The notion of a Clown Lives Matter rally is insensitive, as the issue of police brutality and violence is a serious issue and the clown issue is not as important.
The Clown Lives Matter rally takes away the focus of a serious issue in this country that we are working with law enforcement and the community to resolve.
The commentators are right to be appalled. The event’s name is almost as misguided as the event itself is futile.
Forgive Nikki, for she has sinned.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.