In recent weeks, there have been reports of creepy clowns walking neighborhoods at night and terrorizing children in both California and Indiana. Though the creepy clowns were spotted carrying weapons, no violence actually occurred. Until now.
Reports of clown-related violence escalated in France last week. In one incident, a 35-year-old man was severely beaten with a metal rod by a group of three creepy clowns. All three were apprehended by authorities within 24 hours. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the violence. A student was attacked by a clown and threatened with a knife but didn’t sustain any injuries. In separate incidents on Monday and Tuesday of last week, two girls were chased and attacked by armed clowns in their communes. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week, clowns armed with knives were reported to be appearing in front of children’s schools and terrorizing children.
Police across France received about 20 calls on Friday alone of armed clowns chasing people and lurking around schools, on public roads, and in bushes. Their targets seem to be mostly young children and teens, although adults have been targeted as well. Motorists have called in reports of creepy clowns threatening them as they commute.
A 19-year-old was caught in relation to one attack, sentenced to a six month suspended prison sentence, 105 hours of community service, and was banned from carrying a weapon for five years. In Agde, 14 teens were arrested outside of a school, dressed as clowns and carrying pistols, knives, and baseball bats.
Residents of France are not taking these attacks lightly. Bands of vigilantes have reacted to these threats by forming groups and “clown hunting,” armed with teargas, hammers, and baseball bats. Some French citizens are blaming the U.S. for this recent crime spree, saying these people got their ideas from the incidents of clown stalking in California and Indiana. Police told AFP “they take their inspiration from American horror movies,” and cites the challenge made on Facebook and YouTube as the catalyst for these events. Local government representative Denis Robin made a statement on Friday regarding the recent escalation of threats and violence. “It is absolutely unacceptable that children are held hostage by such acts.” He added that anyone caught will be facing three years in jail and a fine of 47,000 euros ($57,500).
Professional clowns are speaking out on these recent events as well. Phillipe Herreman, director of Clowns of Hope, a group of eight professional clowns that do good works like visiting hospitals and care centers to bring laughter and smiles to those in sad situations, says the
“best thing that could happen is that people stop talking about them.”