Justice for Juggalos
In legal news, the unorthodox American hip hop duo band from Detroit “Insane Clown Posse,” or ICP, is suing the FBI for suddenly cancelling their annual Halloween concert this year, questioning their denied right to assemble.
The FBI’s reasoning for shutting down the show was that it was a dangerous situation because the Juggalos, (fans of ICP), are gang members. Apparently Juggalos have been classified on the National Gang Threat Assesment List as a “loosely-organized hybrid gang,” a charge the Juggalos themselves are baffled by.
The band consists of “Violent J” and “Shaggy 2 Dope,” whose music contains morbid ideas and violent lyrics, and has drawn a vast fan base of loyal “Juggalos” who attend their concerts, purchase merchandise, mimic the clown visage of the two singers, and listen to the music together. Sounds like any other large group of fans doesn’t it? Howard Hertz, the duo’s lawyer, agrees.
There is no legalization banning fans from enjoying their favorite band, singer, movie, actor, etc. For this, Hertz argues ICP and the Juggalos are being targeted and discriminated against for the nature of their shared enthusiasm, not for any actual indiscretion, and is seeking justice.
The issue is that ICP seems to promote violence, and draws the attention of many young people who, according to the FBI, band together and become criminals because of it.
Is this a fair assumption? Is there any concrete evidence to back this up? Why should the FBI determine these fans are a gang, and teenage girls with Beiber Fever aren’t?
Legally, this seems unfair. Logically however, you can see the reasoning. With a genre description like ‘horrorcore’ and lyrics such as “Chopping throats with a hatchet…” and “How many lives can one mother****** take? One Life, two life, three life, four,” it is not difficult to see the correlation being made and the concern of the police.
Hertz argues that it is absurd to insinuate that ICP is promoting actual bloody violence to its listeners. “It’s not meant to reflect reality,” he states, “It’s supposed to be like Halloween every night . . . not telling people to go out and do it.”
There is no universal legal definition of “gang,” which makes this case a difficult one to judge.
The question is really whether or not allowing the Juggalos to assemble for a concert presents a clear and present danger to the public, and since ICP has performed in shows like their “Hallowicked” event for over ten years with no issues serious enough to ban them yet, it seems the FBI are simply afraid of what they don’t understand.