Head of Clown Group Blasts Murderous Character on ‘American Horror Story’

Oct 15, 2014  •  Post A Comment

The FX drama series “American Horror Story” is contributing to “clown fear,” according to the president of the nation’s largest clown organization.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Glenn Kohlberger, the head of Clowns of America International, said, “Hollywood makes money sensationalizing the norm. They can take any situation no matter how good or pure and turn it into a nightmare. … We do not support in any way, shape or form any medium that sensationalizes or adds to coulrophobia or ‘clown fear.'”

The FX show focuses on a serial killer named Twisty the Clown, played by John Carroll Lynch, in its latest incarnation, “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” Twisty has stalked people with scissors and imprisoned children in an old school bus, the article notes.

“With membership in the organization dwindling — its aging base is made up of 2,500 clowns, down from 3,500 in 2004 — Kohlberger, whose big-shoed alter ego is Clyde D. Scope, takes a hard-line stance against characters like Twisty,” THR reports.

The modern image of clowns suffered a setback, the report notes, when the Joker became Batman’s most iconic archenemy. But things turned serious in 1978 when the “arrest of John Wayne Gacy, an Ohio man who raped and murdered at least 33 boys while simultaneously performing as Pogo the Clown, manifested coulrophobia into a real-world and almost unimaginably evil character,” THR reports. “The profession would never recover from the Killer Clown, as Gacy was dubbed by the press.”

Series co-creator Ryan Murphy told THR that Twisty’s origin story will be revealed in episode four.

Said Murphy: “There’s a big story that explains the clown and what he’s doing that’s based on an urban myth we uncovered. Our take is very unusual.”

twisty the clown

Twisty the Clown


  1. How silly. Do they really think that the image of clowns are being hurt by such portrayals? For whatever the reason, there has always been a subset of children who are not cheered up by clowns but instead are frightened by them. I know a number of people who desperately feared clowns during their childhood. It wasn’t because of a movie or a TV show. Entertainment creators have merely capitalized on this not infrequent childhood fear — almost exclusively in entertainment that is NOT targeted to children anyway. So nobody is being influence by these images. If clowns didn’t scare you as a kid, it serves as irony. If you WERE scared as a kid, this merely plays on that former fear and adds an extra depth of eeriness to the show or movie. If you are still scared, well… chances are you stopped watching the second you saw there was a clown, scary or not. Sheesh! There’s a lobby group for everything.

  2. Hate to burst Kohlberger’s bubble, but clowns are creepy. Killer clowns have been around as long as I’ve been alive. That is not what makes me dislike clowns. Also, a phobia is a irrational fear which, in most cases, has no real basis in reality and can be overcome with desensitization. I don’t care, I still find clowns to be creepy.

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