Published Jan 08, 2014Back in 2012, divisive horror rap duo Insane Clown Posse took legal action against the FBI after their followers, known as juggalos, were included on the National Gang Threat Assessment list. Now, the group are taking their legal action one step further.
ICP members Violent J (Joseph Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Joey Utsler), along with four juggalos, filed the lawsuit today (January 8) against the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. They are aiming to have the gang designation revoked.
"We're not a gang," Shaggy 2 Dope said at a press conference [via Billboard]. "We're a family — a diverse group of men and women united by our love of music, and nothing more. We're not a threat, a public menace or a danger to society... and it's time the FBI recognizes that. We will prevail in this fight to clear the juggalo family name, because not to would be bullshit."
Being labelled a gang has not only hurt the juggalos' reputation, ICP claim that it has damaged their career. Their merch sales and concert attendance have gone down in the past couple of years, and various stores have stopped selling their products. Their annual Gathering of the Juggalos apparently lost over $700,000 last year and will be relocated to a smaller venue in 2014.
"When the [gang] label first come out, I laughed at it. I had no idea how much it would effect us," Violent J said. "Now it's like a growing disease. It's affecting everything ICP does. We're going to fight this to the death, 'cause it's not true. It's stupid. It's ridiculous."
The juggalos involved in the suit, meanwhile, say that they have been harassed and persecuted because of their T-shirts and tattoos.
ICP's 2012 lawsuit against the FBI addressed the agency's "failure to produce any documentary evidence in support of the FBI's classification of the group's fan base." The FBI subsequently filed a motion in August to dismiss the suit.
According to the FBI document released in 2011, the juggalos are a "loosely-organized hybrid gang" with subsets that "exhibit gang-like behaviour and engage in criminal activity and violence." Read the document here.