Last week, American Horror Story: Freak Show introduced Twisty, the latest in a long line of psychotic clowns, who differentiates himself from everyday psychotic clowns by murdering people with scissors. But, as is always the case with clowns, no one is laughing—least of all Clowns of America International, which recently took time out of terrifying the nation’s hospitalized kids to complain to The Hollywood Reporter that Twisty is ruining its respected reputation. You know, the reputation of a clown.
“We do not support in any way, shape or form any medium that sensationalizes or adds to coulrophobia or ‘clown fear,’” says Glenn Kohlberger, president of Clowns of America. Kohlberger—who also goes by the clown name “Clyde D. Scope,” as a whimsical nod to another thing youngsters want nothing to do with—laments that clowns in pop culture, from Pagliacci to Poltergeist to Pennywise, so often seek to instill fear, rather than just allowing it to happen naturally. And he certainly doesn’t appreciate how many of them are portrayed as unhinged murderers, when that happened just that one, incredibly scarring time.
“Hollywood makes money sensationalizing the norm. They can take any situation no matter how good or pure and turn it into a nightmare,” Kohlberger says. For example, a man who simply enjoys dressing in rags, painting his face with a rictus smile in blood red, then cavorting silently with your children. Or Lindsay Lohan.
According to THR, even before Twisty, the fear of clowns may have contributed to the fact that membership in Clowns of America is both aging and dwindling, down from 3,500 to 2,500 in the last year alone. And while that means more legroom in Kohlberger’s tiny car, it’s also made this clown very angry, in a way that he insists definitely isn’t scary.
“Clowns to killers. I choose not to play into any of it. The more attention we give it just gives it more fuel,” said Kohlberger, in an interview giving attention to it. Okay, sometimes clowns can be funny.