Professional children’s entertainers have slammed a recent spate of pranks in which people dress up as clowns to scare the public, claiming the situation could damage their own employment.
Union Equity has issued a statement in response to the recent appearances around the UK of so called ‘creepy clowns’.
It claims it has 2,000 members who are registered children’s entertainers and warns that the pranks could have a negative impact on their work.
Ian Thom, who has been a member of Equity for 44 years and a clown for 40, said the pranks annoyed him “intensely”.
“It’s not being distinguished by the public or the press between a clown and some idiot who’s dressed in a rubber, scary mask. They are very different. If I put on a stethoscope and a white coat, would that make me a doctor?” he said.
He added that the creepy clown appearances had already affected some professional entertainers’ livelihoods, and claimed some entertainers were toning down their make-up and costumes in response to the pranks.
“I have spent 40 years working and getting my character solid and my reputation solid, and then you get somebody running around a car park scaring the bejesus out of kids, and potentially the next person they meet could be epileptic or have a heart condition. That is going to happen,” he said.
Equity organiser Michael Day said professional clowns wanted to “distance themselves from these incidents”.
He said: “The perpetrators are likely to be pranksters with clown masks or costumes committing potentially criminal acts. Professional clowns feel that these stories could make children fearful of them and could also affect their work opportunities.”
He added: “Some also believe that they could be placed in danger if they are travelling to a job in costume. The role of a clown is to put smiles on faces and this could not be further from what these pranksters are doing.”