In more than 20 states across the US, creepy clowns have been menacing neighborhoods, causing Target to pull clown masks nationwide "out of sensitivity" for the reported violence and threats being made.
The retailer limited its selection to one in-store option and 10 online ones and said that those kept in stock were less traditional and a less threatening image of a happy, cheerful clown, according to Reuters.
The first recent clown menacing started in August in South Carolina when children claimed that clowns were trying to lure them with money into the woods in Greenville County. The clown craze continued touching universities from the University of Miami to Penn State and more, as well as neighborhoods across the country. As the pandemonium continued, the scary clowns have been spotted near woods, on dark roads and even driving cars. Some have been reported being seen with knives or waving money at children.
Target is not the only brand that has limited their connection with clowns. McDonald’s mascot, the friendly, hamburger-loving Ronald McDonald has made limited appearances since the fast food company decided to limit appearances in the wake of clown hysteria. According to a statement, they said that "the current climate around clown sightings in communities" was the reason for the scaled back sightings.
Trade clowns are suffering from the fallout too, which is directly affecting their business. Some are even going as far as organizing a “Clown Lives Matter” movement in Tucson, Arizona.
The Deseret News in Salt Lake City reported that the local clowns are struggling. Jeffrey Hanssen, who works as JubJub the Clown, has received 10 to 15 calls in one week, mostly from kids asking if he was one of the killer clowns. Hansen, who usually books 8-10 shows per month, has booked none since.
“They’re associating us with these idiots who are walking around with these masks on their face with professional clowns,” said Tom Butte, who performs with his wife as Sammy T and Sunshine the Clown.
The Miami Police Department, as well as other law enforcement bodies across the country including Dartmouth, Mass., have created public service announcements to warn people of the clowns.
— Miami PD (@MiamiPD) October 13, 2016