Clowns want to make people smile and laugh, but the clowns in Hollywood movies and TV shows tend to be scary and sadistic. America's professional clowns want to end the negative portrayals.
"Hollywood makes money senstationalizing the norm," Gleen Kohlberger, president of Clowns of America International (COAI), told The Hollywood Reporter. The organization is the nation's biggest clown club. "They can take any situation no matter how good or pure and turn it into a nightmare."
The COAI's latest objection to Hollywood's crazy clowns is Twisty the Clown (played by John Carroll Lynch) on "American Horror Story: Freak Show." The serial killer clown stalks couples with scissors and locks children up in an old bus.
"We do not support in any way, shape or form any medium that sensationalizes or adds to coulrophobia or 'clown fear,'" said Kohlberger, who goes by Clyde D. Scope in character.
Twisty may become one of the scariest TV characters of all time, but "Freak Show" will humanize the killer clown a little bit. The character's backstory will be revealed in an upcoming episode.
"[Lynch] can do anything, and you'll find in episode four that there is a human side to the clown," Finn Wittrock, who plays Dandy Mott, told TVLine. "We will learn his backstory, and we'll actually see a sort of humanity in him. That won't cease to make him the scariest character on television, but I think you'll understand how he got that way."
If Twisty keeps on killing, a little humanization won't change Kohlberger's perspective. "Clowns to killers," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I choose not to play into any of it. The more attention we give it just gives it more fuel."
The COAI has seen its registration numbers drop from 3,500 clowns to 2,500 clowns in the past 10 years.
Unfavorable portrayals on screen and off have not helped the clown industry. The fictional Joker from "Batman" has become one of the most recognized clown villains, and the real-life murderer John Wayne Gacy, who killed 33 young men and boys in the 1970s, was dubbed the "Clown Killer" due to his side gig entertaining kids as "Pogo the Clown."