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“As many of you may have heard, the federal government has indicated in official public reports that Psychopathic Records recording artists the Insane Clown Posse’s fan base, the Juggalos, is a criminal gang emerging throughout the United States. On behalf of the Juggalos, the Insane Clown Posse and Psychopathic Records are investigating a possible lawsuit against the FBI or other governmental agencies that have violated the rights of Juggalos on the mistaken belief that they are gang members.”
This is the first part of the statement released by Insane Clown Posse, the horrorcore duo composed of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, about a possible lawsuit against the FBI, which in its National Gang Threat Assessment report of November 2011, classified Juggalos as a gang.
The term Juggalos defines fans of Insane Clown Posse or any other hip hop group affiliated with Psychopathic Records. The term originated during a concert in 1994, when Violent J addressed the fans with this term after performing the song “The Juggla.” Although they have developed slang and style, Juggalos are not contained to only one geographical or sociological division. They have different backgrounds and lives.
A part of the FBI’s report reads “Although recognized as a gang in only four states, many Juggalos subsets exhibit gang-like behavior and engage in criminal activity and violence. Law enforcement officials in at least 21 states have identified criminal Juggalo sub-sets, according to reporting.”
In an interview with Vice, Violent J said “They’re trying to kill our band, and we have to fight back. Let’s get this straight, a Juggalo is not a gang member. Consider a Juggalo that, 15 years ago, got a hatchet man tattoo or something. Now they’ve got a family, they’re working in real estate or something, and they’re driving home and get a speeding ticket. Next thing you know, he’s in the gang file, and that will be taken into consideration in any trial. Suddenly, it ain’t just somebody who fucked up, it’s a gang member who fucked up, and they’re getting a heavier sentence.”
As for now, Insane Clown Posse has launched the website Juggalos Fight Back to help their fans understand their rights and share their personal experiences of discrimination, while investigating the possible lawsuit.
The discussion about music affecting behaviors up to the point of making people violent and criminal has gone on since forever, with the case of Charles Manson saying The Beatles’ Helter Skelter influenced him to commit mass murder setting a prime example for debate.
The question here seems to be different though. What has to be defined is the possibility and the legitimacy of classifying somebody as pertaining to a criminal organization, even without the person in question having conducted any criminal action but merely on the basis of musical taste.
Image Courtesy of Insane Clown Posse