They call themselves Juggalos and they are enthusiastic hardcore fans of the Detroit band the Insane Clown Posse. Seven Action News met with several Juggalos in Warren Friday as they hit the road for Washington D.C., where Saturday they say they will march for change.
“The whole idea is at least we are standing up for ourselves,” said Ben Jewell, a self-proclaimed Juggalo from metro-Detroit.
So why do they say they need to stand up for themselves? They were labeled a quote, “loosely-organized hybrid gang” in the FBI’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report.
The Insane Clown Posse said in a video the FBI’s labeling of their fans as a gang has impacted their ability to book shows and make a living.
“You gotta understand it has become harder and harder to do what we love,” said Joseph Utsler, one of the two members of the Insane Clown Posse in a video posted on-line.
The Insane Clown Posse sued saying the FBI violated the first amendment rights of their fans to identify as Juggalos. A Detroit federal judge dismissed the suit, but the appeals court ruled the case could continue. It is scheduled to continue in October.
The FBI has not called them a gang on current lists, but fans say the damage is done.
“They didn’t send no memos out to law enforcement, so they are still treating us like gang members,” said Ken Huff, a Juggalo from Ecorse.
“They pull you over just because of a sticker on a car,” said Jewell.
They say people have lost jobs, police have confiscated band swag, and one juggalo we spoke to says a law enforcement officer asked if she was in a gang as he ordered lunch. She was working at the time - at a Wendy’s - and he could see her Insane Clown Posse Tattoo.
“He was like do you know what that means? I was like, it is my favorite band. He said no it is a gang affiliation,” said Vanna Parker. “Then I served him his Wendy’s and he went on his way.”
“Calling us a gang because we listen to a certain kind of music, its just wrong,” said Jewell.