BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — People posing as clowns are frightening people in areas across the state. Many of the incidents reported involved threatening kids and schools.
These threats may be having an impact on people who are hired to dress up as clowns for entertainment.
Jonathan Davidson owns 123 Clown and Character. He’s in the business of making people happy and putting smiles on kids faces, but says the recent clown threats are shining a bad light on his profession.
“It does not make me feel good, not at all,” said Davidson. “I’m actually disgusted in general by the people that are choosing to perform in that fashion and something that’s meant for joy and meant for fun.”
Davidson says the demand for clowns hasn’t changed much since the threats. He says clowns haven’t been popular for several years, even before the threats.
It could be the rainbow wigs and the exaggerated features that just don’t sit well with some people, which is why Davidson has modified his costume to come across more friendly.
With all of the recent clown sightings, many people are left feeling scared and even confused about why they dislike clowns in the first place.
“For a lot of people, clowns very often harbor some stressful anxious phobic type responses, not everybody, but definitely for somebody and when you put those two together it makes it a strange, bizarre and scary sort of scenario,” said UAB Clinical Psychologist Joshua Klapow.
Klapow says the fear of clowns could stem from seeing clowns in movies, portrayed in horror films looking like friendly clowns and then engaging in violent behavior.
“Very often just the makeup and the big hair can be distressing and this is why you get a lot of people who, as older children teens and adults, will say they don’t like clowns typically. They’ve been scared when they were young even if the clown was doing nothing wrong,” said Klapow.
Klapow suggests talking with your child about the people who are causing these threats who happen to be posing as clowns. He says make sure they understand the difference between a safe environment for a clown versus a situation that may not be safe, like a clown trying to lure kids away from school.