Clowns of America International is not pleased by the nightmare-inducing portrayal of clowns in "American Horror Story: Freak Show."
The fourth season of the FX anthology series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk is set in Jupiter, Fla., in the 1950s, and follows the story of a group of misfits each with unique characteristics. And as seen in the first two episodes of the Primetime Emmy-winning show, the town is plagued by the presence of Twisty the Clown, a murderous serial killer, portrayed by John Carroll Lynch.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, Oct. 15, Glenn Kohlberger, president of Clowns of America International - the country's biggest professional clown club - blasted Twisty the Clown's portrayal on the show, saying that it induces coulrophobia or fear of clowns.
"Hollywood makes money sensationalizing the norm," Kohlberger said. "They can take any situation no matter how good or pure and turn it into a nightmare."
Kohlberger, whose clown alter ego is Clyde D. Scope, added that the menacing depiction of Twisty The Clown "Freak Show" is not helpful to the organization's decreasing membership.
The club's membership has dwindled from 3,500 in 2004 to 2,500 in 2014. "We do not support in any way, shape or form any medium that sensationalizes or adds to coulrophobia or 'clown fear,'" Kohlberger told THR.
At the "Freak Show" premiere in Los Angeles on Oct. 5, Murphy spoke to Us Weekly about the installment's main villain.
"I'm not afraid of clowns, so I keep pushing that at people and leaving the set. I'm like, I'm not afraid of that," Murphy said. "I am afraid of entrapment. There's a sub-story where some people are trapped by the clowns that are subsiding on tears and gruel. I was very afraid of that actually when we got into it. But that is scary to me. And being thrown into a jail cell with no civil rights is scary to me, which many of these performers back in the day experienced. That's scary. A lack of justice and a lack of a voice, scary."
Murphy also told BuzzFeed last month that they always want Twisty to be the most terrifying clown of all time.
He also said in the same interview that he is worried about viewers being "too afraid" of Twisty. "It's heart-stopping what he does. I'm worried. I'm worried that people are going to have cardiac arrests," he said. "The clown's intro in the first episode is ... even I was terrified of it. It's brutal."
Since Lynch stands 6-foot-3, his portrayal of Twisty the Clown becomes even more frightening. "I have a physical presence that has to be dealt with," Lynch told BuzzFeed on set. People are honestly terrified of me. Just standing around in the makeup, not even filming. They're freaked out."
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