Released by Tamara Palmer, Clowns Without Borders USA
Clowns Without Borders USA (CWB-USA) condemns the actions of agents who are impersonating clowns to frighten others and the actions of those who are using distorted clown images to make fictitious threats and incite anxiety. The wave of negative and hurtful sentiments expressed against professional clowns pains our community. “While this phenomenon in the U.S. hasn’t affected our international programming, it certainly has affected the climate here at home. We honor and support our community of professional performing artists, who are experiencing prejudice because of this,” says Molly Rose Levine, Executive Director for CWB-USA.
Furthermore, we are distraught by the reports of school closures, verbal harassments and physical altercations linked to creepy clowns in numerous states. The agitation these threats may have caused people saddens us and is in no way a reflection of the mission and work of our organization.
The “Creepy Clowns” as they are now commonly referred to, are, in fact, not clowns. The term is a misnomer. The pretenders are disturbing figures who are pretending to be clowns and hiding their identity because they do not understand the art form.
“Dressing up as a doctor doesn’t make someone a doctor,” says Sarah Liane Foster, CWB-USA board member and U.S. Representative to Clowns Without Borders International. “Wearing a mask and a wig doesn’t make someone a clown. It’s intensive study and practice, and the ability to inspire laughter through play, in a state of honest naiveté, that makes one a clown.”
True clowns are professionally trained performers who have undertaken years of study. The paths to becoming a clown are diverse. Many artists accumulate a lifetime of training and experience in the quest to discover authentic humor. The skilled clown connects to the audience in a safe manner where they understand that the clown is a character and the red nose is a mask that invites interaction – – not to conceal identity for nefarious reasons.
“The correct use of the red nose is a mask that reveals the actor’s unique laughableness rather than hiding anything. The legitimate clown exists in a pure state of ridiculous honesty that encourages laughter because of the clown’s deep, vulnerable humanity,” explains Sarah Liane Foster.
“It’s not the first time that ‘creepy clowns’ have made the rounds as a media fad in the U.S., and it’s a setback every time. To all of our incredible CWB-USA clowns – – thank you! Thank you for your energy and all of the work that you do to bring levity and laughter into people’s lives around the world,” says Levine.
Founded in 1995 by Moshe Cohen, Clowns Without Borders USA offers levity to relieve suffering in areas of crisis. Clowns Without Borders USA and the 12 CWB chapters worldwide partner with humanitarian organizations such as PLAN, UNICEF, and CARE. Their contribution provides psychosocial support to children and their communities in regions affected by natural disaster, violence, epidemics and mass displacement. Clowns Without Borders USA is a nonprofit organization. Its humanitarian mission of Resilience in Laughter is supported by a volunteer roster of professional artists. Learn more at www.clownswithoutborders.org
Ed. Note: Clown sightings have been reported in several southeastern US states, including multiple sightings in Eastern North Carolina. The sightings often frighten parents. While clown costume sales are up, professional clowns are seeing a downturn in customer bookings.