The remake of Stephen King's It is already scaring viewers with super-creepy previews and eerie photos of Pennywise, the not-so-friendly clown played by Bill Skarsgard. But the film's release has had some unexpected collateral damage, too: According to The Hollywood Reporter, real-life clowns have been taking a hit and losing gigs thanks to the scary association they didn't even ask for.
Scary clowns have had something of a renaissance in the past year. Real-life scary clowns popped up across the country around Halloween of last year. American Horror Story brought in a creepy clown character, too (who's set to return for the upcoming Cult season). But it all stems from the 1990 made-for-TV It, which many see as the catalyst for the clown-as-serial-killer motif that just won't go away.
But not all clowns are scary. World Clown Association president Pam Moody says that the friendly varieties are getting sidelined thanks to all the attention being thrown over to the not-so-kind versions taking over the pop-culture spotlight. The bad press is leading to clowns losing their jobs and leaving Moody concerned.
"People had school shows and library shows that were canceled," Moody told THR. "That's very unfortunate. The very public we're trying to deliver positive and important messages to aren't getting them."
Moody notes that Pennywise actually has nothing to do with clowning at all, which she sees as a way to educate kids. As a professional clown herself, she uses her character, Sparky the Firefighter Clown, to teach kiddos about safety.
"It all started with the original It," she adds. "That introduced the concept of this character. It's a science-fiction character. It's not a clown and has nothing to do with pro clowning."
While pro clowns everywhere wait to ride out the wave of negative attention that's coming along with It, Moody has released a guide for clowns on the upcoming movie and what it means for modern clowning. Pennywise may be scary-as-hell, but that doesn't mean that every clown is out for blood; some are content just painting kids' faces and making balloon giraffes.
Read These Stories Next: