Juggalos Share Stories of Prejudice They’ve Encountered as a Result of FBI Gang Classification
Being accused of a gang affiliation by virtue of your fandom of the Insane Clown Posse certainly has crappy consequences for Juggalos.
In 2011, the FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment labeled Juggalos a “non-traditional gang,” placing the fanbase in the same category as groups like the Bloods, Crips and Aryan Brotherhood.
The report classifying the Juggalos as like a gang read as follows: “Many Juggalo subsets exhibit gang-like behavior and engage in criminal activity and violence. Law enforcement officials in at least 21 states have identified criminal Juggalo subsets.”
That hardly sounds like a subculture of fans that loves the rapping clown duo.
As a result, ICP’s Psychopathic Records is giving Juggalos a chance to air their grievances – in their own words. They can share, in “It Happened to Me” style, a first-person account of this unfairly assigned label.
Below are some of the situations Juggalos had encountered and had to deal with due to being viewed as and classified as a deviant or a gang member by virtue of loving really bad music. No one should be punished for having bad taste in tunes.
But in all seriousness, some Juggalos have had custody issues and faced persecution and prejudice based on the fact that they wear the gear and listen to the songs. That is not fair, no matter what genre or bands you like.
Here are there stories, released by “Juggalos Fight Back: Family Under Fire,” a biweekly newsletter aimed at exposing the problems that Juggalos face. All stories were submitted here or through direct email to Psychopathic Records and their attorneys.
“I was in Indianapolis about three months ago and went into a gas station. As I was heading to get a soda, the clerk said, ‘Hey, we don’t serve your kind here.’ I was confused so I asked ‘What do you mean by that, sir?’ Then he said ‘You’re wearing that ICP Juggalo stuff and Juggalos are a gang. You have two choices, son. One, you leave my store nice and calm or two, I call the law.’ So I left but I still don’t think that was right.” –Joshua M. Bloomington, Indiana
“I lost custody of my daughter recently during a custody battle with the father.
The father brought my music preferences in to question at the hearings, calling the courts attention to my being a Juggalo. He told the court that Juggalos are ‘meth head cult members who are extremely violent and listen to the Insane Clown Posse together.’ Even though I have only baked cookies, played ‘Guitar Hero,’ taken walks, played with our children at the park, etc. with the Juggalos that I know.
“I ended up having to go through an expensive drug assessment, even though the father didn’t accuse me of current drug use at that time. The guardian ad litem’s reasoning for this drug assessment was actually because she thought it was important that I prove my credibility to the court since I am a Juggalo. The father submitted pictures of me wearing face paint and a picture of my daughter and I baking a cookie in the shape of a hatchetman.
“As soon as the custody hearing began, it seemed like it was all about the Juggalo issue. I ended up losing primary custody of her and now get to see my daughter three weekends per month. I don’t get to participate in any of her school activities unless the father grants permission to do so.
“I don’t understand how baking a cookie or wearing face paint like a clown– nothing more, nothing less–could be used as such powerful ammo against me in court. The father made up an entire case of lies and won his case because the court ate up everything he said after the Juggalo issue was brought up.” –Deanne S., Everett, Washington
“My name is Jason. I am a recently retired Army Specialist who has been a Juggalo for over 10 years now. I have been over to Afghanistan and served this country proudly. I was over there from 2009-2010. I have earned several awards and medals for my time there, however in early 2012, a staff sergeant noticed my hatchetman tattoo, which I had for over five years now and told me I need to get it covered or removed. The Army I served with and government I once believed in has turned their back on me. They threatened to kick me out. I received my honorable discharge in August, but I have been barred from re-enlistment because of my tattoos.
“Just a few weeks ago, I was taken into Lake County Jail because I was wearing my blue Twiztid jersey at a store and the cops ran my ID and found a warrant. I asked the cops why they stopped me and was told it was because of gang-related activities. When I was being booked, the officer doing it asked me if I had any tattoos. I kindly told the cop I have the crest of the Corps of Engineers for the time I spent as a combat engineer, a cross on my back, a scroll on my side, and when I pulled my sleeve up, she saw the hatchetman and told me I have to be put in the system as a gang member. When I asked her why, she told me it was because of my tattoo.
“Because of this garbage that people are saying about Juggalos and that we are a gang, even though I know we aren’t…I have been barred from re-enlistment in the Army, profiled for the clothes I wear, and I have been labeled in the legal system as a gang member. My life has damn near been destroyed. If it wasn’t for my Juggalo family I would have nothing.” –Jason
What a shame. No matter what you think about ICP, this sounds like discrimination to us.