Local business clowns shed positive light on “creepy clown” issue

Local business clowns shed positive light on “creepy clown” issue

Local business clowns shed positive light on “creepy clown” issue
October 19
15:51 2016

Across the country, recent sightings of “creepy clowns,” who have been caught harassing and scaring individuals in communities, have been circulating online and on TV. In various cities, including Denton, there have been online threats posted throughout social media platforms.

However, entertainment clowns in the DFW area have an opinion that most people aren’t considering.

“It’s hard for us to tell people how we feel about this,” said entertainment clown Julian Del Gadillo. “But it contributes to a fear of clowns.”

Del Gadillo, 33, makes a living off of his passion as an entertainment clown. It’s what he considers his full-time job, alongside his part-time job driving trucks. Clowning, to him, isn’t only a form of fun or expression, but it is also what he does to support his wife and three kids.

Unfortunately, the clowns throughout the news have affected his business, a group called Latino Clowns, negatively.

“Kids are being told to beware of clowns,” he said. “We’ve had a few cancellations over this.”

Del Gadillo is concerned for his business as more children and parents begin to wonder if party clowns are a good idea. Being that he both takes care of his family by clowning and enjoys his job, he said it makes him upset to see people turn away from his business due to recent news.

He is also worried about his safety. Del Gadillo described being followed once by a cop in traffic while driving in costume. He feels as if people are watching clowns around town with caution, no matter who they are.

Travis McCallum

Travis McCallum

To Del Gadillo it’s a confusing situation because not all clowns are out to hurt people. Instead, they are hoping to provide people with a sense of fun and laughter.

Andy Espinosa, 22, has been clowning with his father since he was five years old. He attends Tarrant County College for telemarketing, but he intends on continuing his father’s business.

As a lifelong clown, Espinosa has always dealt with children who are scared or hesitant around clowns. With a friendly smile and comedic approach, he eventually is able to soothe the children’s nervousness.

“We’ve always experienced anxiety from children,” Espinosa said. “This situation has been annoying more than anything.”

In fact, other professional clowns share very similar views. To professional clowns, clowning is an art that requires honest vulnerability and good humor.

“My way of seeing this is that they’re not really clowns,” said Rafael Rondon, a 44-year-old professional clown and magician. “They’re pranksters, there’s a difference.”

According to Rondon, who has been clowning professionally for 25 years, the people who are dressed as these creepy clowns don’t accurately represent what a clown is. He claims that they are hooligans causing trouble in face paint who perpetuate a stigma against clowns.

“I really wish people would stop paying so much attention to it,” Rondon said. “It’s not that serious.”

Sharing similar sentiments was 53-year-old professional clown Robert Divers. Divers, aside from performing as a clown, is a nurse at a children’s hospital in Dallas. To him, clowning is a comedic art that encourages entertainment and charity.

“They have nothing to do with what clowns do,” Divers said. “It’s a passing issue that feeds on its own negative energy.”

Last week, Divers posted a video onto his website that addressed the creepy clown issue. Currently, the video has reached 27,000 views. It’s a visual expression of what constitutes as a real clown and how creepy clowns aren’t one of them. He expresses that children know the difference between “good” clowns and “scary” imposters and that people shouldn’t base their judgment of clowns on these pranksters.

While Divers hopes that the situation passes soon, his main concern is how the media outlets have given these pranksters the name of clowns due to the face paint. Although generations of people have been afraid of clowns, this situation is bringing this stigma to light and creating a dialog that hasn’t been discussed before.

On the other hand, it’s also giving professional clowns the opportunity to educate the public.

“It’s giving clowns an opportunity to talk about what clowning [really] is,” Divers said.

Featured Image: Travis McCallum

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Bina Perino

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