Juggalos, the very dedicated fans of the Insane Clown Posse, has been designated as a gang by the FBI. In a profile, the life of the roving band of ICP-loving is apparently misunderstood by outsiders, with the profile offering more insight than ever known.
The Washington Post visited the with the Juggalos during a recent gathering in Oklahoma City. It was an up close look at the groups and their zany antics but also delved into the varying levels of expression found in this large collection of people.
The Post writes:
But — amid all the trash-throwing, which served as a prelude to the “seminar,” a key event at the annual gathering, where ICP offers its fans a sort of state of the Juggalo union — a question was running through my mind: Are these people gang members? If the FBI is to be believed, every one of the hundreds of Juggalos under this tent were potentially part of a criminal syndicate. That’s because in 2011, the FBI took the extraordinary and unprecedented step of labeling the entire fan base of ICP a gang, placing them alongside the Bloods, Crips and MS-13, after a string of crimes carried out by people identified as Juggalos.
The move touched off one of the strangest controversies at the crossroads of pop culture, criminal justice and the First Amendment in contemporary America. ICP and the Juggalos were outraged, saying the FBI effectively criminalized being a fan of a musical group. It had far-reaching and severe consequences. Juggalos not associated with gangs have reported being repeatedly stopped by police, added to gang databases, blocked from the military, placed on stricter forms of probation, suspended from school and fired from jobs. Those problems sparked a campaign by ICP and the Juggalos to get the FBI to publicly repudiate the gang label. They say their right to free speech, right to assemble and the good ol’ American right to rawk are being violated.
Their fight has drawn in the American Civil Liberties Union and spurred a federal lawsuit. And the effort moves into a bigger spotlight on Sept. 16 with easily the most unusual protest to hit the nation’s capital in a year full of them: In a rally being organized by ICP, the group’s fans will descend on the Mall for a Juggalo March on Washington. It will be an easy spectacle to lampoon, yet at the heart of the protest will be a quite serious question: While Juggalos can certainly be accused of criminally bad taste, are they actual criminals?
The rest of the profile is just as fascinating and can be read by following this link.
The Juggalos march is slated for Sept. 16.