Insane Clown Posse

In 2011, the FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center published a report that classified juggalos, fans of the Insane Clown Posse, as a “loosely organized hybrid gang.” ICP disputed the report and filed a federal lawsuit against the Bureau, claiming that juggalos are fans of music, not criminals, and that their fans had been unfairly targeted in various different ways since the report was published. The Justice Department asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that the FBI isn’t responsible for actions that local law enforcement agencies may have taken based on the report. And the Department got its wish. As Pitchfork points out, The Boston Globe reports that Detroit federal judge Robert Cleland has agreed with the Justice Department’s assessment. ICP put serious resources into that lawsuit, to protect their fans, and at least in this writer’s opinion, it fucking sucks that a government institution can target an entire music-based subculture with impunity. You don’t have to like ICP’s music, or even their fans, to see the injustice there.

Comments (44)
  1. So if the FBI thinks that their gang list should have no impact on law enforcement, then why do they maintain these classifications in the first place, and why are our tax dollars paying for this effort? If it’s worth classifying groups as gangs and potential threats, then this list matters, and it sucks that fans of a band would get lumped in with violent, criminal gangs.

  2. This is no different than racial profiling IMO. Fuck you, FBI. Fuck you. And fuck the local swingin dick pussy cops who hide behind their badges passing judgement. There was one who actually pulled over a truck just because it had an ICP bumper sticker. This story makes me wanna puke.

    There. I said it. Felt good, too.

  3. What a joke. “The FBI isn’t responsible for actions that local law enforcement agencies may have taken based on the report”? So what is the report for, exactly? Was there a disclaimer on the first page that said, “For entertainment purposes only”?

    I know it’s hard for thinking people to get too worked up about an anti-Juggalo ruling, but it is straight-up unfair and illegal to tar several million people as gang members, and expose them to all the enforcement and sentencing considerations that go along with such a distinction.

    • OK…. so I liked this because what you’re saying is essentially correct and justified. But you should have said “conservative” instead of “thinking”. Just needed to point that out. “Thinking people” are the ones who are going to realize this is unjust.

      • No, I definitely didn’t mean “conservative”. It’s really not a political thing. Besides, if there’s any group with a truly apoplectic hatred for all things Juggalo, surely it’s educated white liberals.

  4. I hate ICP more than I hate most things but I have to respect them for putting so much into protecting their fans not many groups these days would do that I feel. And the dismissal is typical government avoidance such a shame that excuses and loopholes can be said so easily without the real problem being addressed

    • You hate ICP? Hate is a very strong emotion and occupies a lot of one’s energy to actually feel. I don’t listen to ICP but I certainly do not hate them, or even dislike them, because I don’t really know anything about them. From what I’ve read they seem to care a lot about their fans, which is highly admirable. Plus, they dropped out of school in junior high and created a very interesting enterprise built upon horrorcore rap and connecting with a very bored and isolated young middle american culture. So, they obviously must have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. That said, yeah, this is silly and ICP fans are hardly a gang. They seem to be pretty positive people.

  5. My husband is a HUGE fan of ICP, me, not so much. I don’t hate ICP, but I’m not a huge fan, either. Anyway, in terms of legality- I think that the FBI is using its power against a group of serious music fans, in an effort to stifle free-speech and create a means to insult and discriminate against music fans, to make more MONEY off criminal charges for bullshit crimes. Pretty sad and pathetic, if you ask me! What happened to the days when government was supposed to answer to the PEOPLE, not the other way around? The people have spoken- ICP fans (Juggalos and Juggalettes) are NOT gang members- they are music fans with an extreme distaste for CRIMINAL government activity, such as falsely labelling ICP fans as a gang, whether it be a loosely organized one or not!

  6. loosely nuthin mmfcl we out here

    • Hey kid watch yourself we are not a gang, nor do the majority of us involve ourselves in violent acts of illegality. Now watch what you say because of that of which you said gives the criminal government more incentive not reversing the label.

  7. Let’s do this then… Force the FBI to include all cops as a loosely organized hybrid gang as well… Thugs in blue with guns….

  8. That’s fucking stupid…
    we just like the music…

  9. The thing I don’t get is now-a-days every band or musical artists have a name for their fans… like look at Lady Gaga who calls her her Lil Monsters… are they part of a gang now? because i am sure there is more than 3 of them… 3 is a crowd..which makes a gang ya know? Then Slipknot of course Maggots… and Crown the Empire now calls theirs the Runaways now or something like that. This is just a few examples ya know? Just because ICP is different like most artists are they get the bad wrap.. people need to do their research and see all the good things they have done. 1 bad apple ruins it all, that goes for anything… 1 bad cop makes all cops look bad. Its just the way the world turns. But people need to get educated and stop pointing fingers.

  10. Justice, how does it work?

  11. I don’t necessarily think its right to call an entire group of fans a gang, but I can see in part the problem with juggalos in particular. First off your talking about a group of fans who pride themselves on being outsiders that the rest of the world wont/cant understand. They consider themselves a “family”, they have logos to represent their group, and tend to have a fascination with murder related lyrics and find it cathartic to listen too. On top of that they can use the face paint to maintain anonymity during conflicts. As long as the government isn’t taking action against ICP I don’t see an issue with preemptively addressing the issues that large crowds of juggalos can bring and that is a “gang” mentality. The problem is putting every fan into that box, they aren’t all the same, but it doesn’t take much for a group that has these characteristics to tip over the edge.

    • It may be a regional thing too. I’m from rural New Mexico and there are real teenage gangs that have adopted the Hatchet Man and and other ICP iconography.

      • No one’s saying there are no juggalo criminals out there, but there’s a very important distinction between dealing with Juggalo-related gangs and saying that Juggalos, in general, are part of a loosely organized gang. That’s the issue here.

        Crips and Bloods often incorporate blue or red sports team merch into their outfits, but it doesn’t mean Dodger fans are a loosely organized hybrid gang.

  12. Blake, You may have a small point. But the government has devoted resources and taken action against these people. Juggalos have been harassed by law enforcement in several documented cases (even written in the police report) as their “known gang affiliation” as the reasonable suspicion to question. In some cases, where if you were the one who had contraband in such a small amount, you wouldn’t have been stopped and searched for it, and if you did, you’d get a civil offense, because of their gang affiliation, that same small amount of contraband was a felony.

    I’m not a Juggalo, I have friends who are, but I am indifferent to their music. But if the FBI would do this, with shoving all juggalos into that gang box, what other group are they going to do it with? The large crowd in the “gang” mentality only really happens at shows, and that same mentality happens are Justin Bieber concerts. Should we make Beliebers a gang now? Or Dead Heads at Grateful Dead shows, same? Or should we start doing this to nerds who act with a “Gang Mentality” at the comicons? Should Nerds and Geeks be gang? With your line of reasoning, everyone should be under the “gang mentality” thus giving the government rights to exercise more power against us. This is very dangerous, because we’ve seen this behavior before in history. Hitler did this with the disabled, Jews, and homosexuals. It was one of the ways he solidified his power in Germany.


    Rural gangs? That’s hilarious, reminds me of the “Sevie Street Gang” in the small town I lived in Maine growing up. Their big gang activities included vandalism, public intoxication, and lewd conduct in public (there was a bike trail along the river in my home town, and they’d go down there and tag it, have sex and drink). Yeah, no, that’s not a gang, just a group of people.

    • Look I’m not defending the fact that the entire group of fans is being “labeled” as a gang, but don’t ignore the fact that this is group that has acted violently as groups and attributed it to their common interest in ICP music. There are two groups of juggalos, some are just fans who enjoy ICP music and don’t act violently(majority), others act violently specifically to secure their position as violent juggalos who “truly” live the ICP lifestyle(minority extremist-sound familiar to any other groups?). That is a gang! Just because I wear a red shirt doesn’t make me a blood, but if I act violently to secure myself a position in the bloods gang, then yes I’m part of a gang. As far as cops mistreating juggalos and profiling them, that’s wrong too, I’m not condoning that. Drug laws need to change so this isn’t as prevalent and police need to be held accountable for how they act. Just because cops do bad things doesn’t make everything else okay. I don’t like that excuse. It’s not often but their are gang unit police who actually create great relationships with gang members for the exact reason that they aren’t D-bag cops, they get more respect, are more likely to get information, and more likely to stop criminal activity before it happens. Juggalos blaming cops and cops profiling all juggalos does nothing to solve the situation, so lets not act like it can’t be fixed or addressed.

      Your comparisons to Bieber and comi-con are really reaching out there. If Bieber fans came together to condone violence and acted in that way at his shows then yes, I would say that’s a gang mentality. I’m not talking about Mobs, were talking about gangs there is a difference. The truth of the matter is there are violent juggalos out there who use ICP “family” as an excuse to be criminals. Should all juggalos be stopped on the street or harassed? Absolutley not, but maybe more security should be present at ICP shows. It’s not a simple situation, so I don’t think minimalizing the real issues is beneficial. Trying to figure out all the problems and addressing them is the only way things get fixed.

      P.S. I live in Portland ME, the gang activity hasn’t really changed up here lol, tagging is still one of the worst offenses. Though drug running through Westbrook and Lewiston will at some point create real gangs in Maine.

      • >> There are two groups of juggalos

        There aren’t, though. There are dozens of groups scattered all over the place. Some of them are criminals and should be dealt with as such. But there simply is no nationwide criminal organization rooted in ICP fandom, as claimed in the FBI report. It’s a thing that does not actually exist.

        >> As far as cops mistreating juggalos and profiling them, that’s wrong too, I’m not condoning that.

        But that’s what the entire conversation is about. You can’t say you oppose profiling Juggalos *and* agree with the FBI that Juggalos are a gang. If they’re actually a gang, then it isn’t profiling.

        If all you’re actually saying is, “Juggalo culture seems kinda dumb and glorifies antisocial behavior,” I don’t think you’ll find a lot of disagreement there. But that really has nothing to do with the conversation. I also think MMA culture seems dumb and glorifies antisocial behavior, but I don’t think cops should be allowed to treat everyone in a Tapout t-shirt as a gang affiliate.

        • There are gangs that call themselves Juggalo gangs, this isn’t made up. They exhibit all the same characteristics of the regular fans as far as their outside appearance and name their gangs after their group following(i.e Juggalo Killiers). Its unfortunate they do so because that means that press for all these crimes are attributed to ICP fans as a whole. That’s not fair to peaceful fans who just want to look the part and enjoy their music, but once your outside appearance becomes representative of gangs(crypts=blue, Bloods=red, latin kings=black and gold plus the crown) then people are going to assume, for fear of safety, that you represent the gang instead of the fan. Just like its unfortunate that a group of black guys in LA all wearing red are going to send signs they’re bloods or devote Muslims are instantly related to extremist. Just because its wrong to assume those things doesn’t mean that the bloods or Muslim extremist don’t exist. I don’t think its right to group all ICP fans together as gang members, but that doesn’t mean juggalo gangs don’t actually exist. That’s why theyre on the list because they(the gang members) chose ICP culture to be the premise behind their gang activities. Is that ICP’s fault, absolutely not. Are all fans condoning or practicing this gang violence, absolutely not.
          I think it would do more for Juggalos as a fan base if ICP stopped trying to clear the Juggalo name and started condemning these fans who commit assault, robbery, arson, weapons trafficking in the name of ICP. ICP can be “artists” and sing about whatever they want, but at some point they have to acknowledge that fans who actually commit these atrocities aren’t real fans. I’m sure if Violent J’s mother was assaulted by a group of juggalos in the name of ICP fandom, he wouldn’t be as happy about what they’re doing.
          In response to your last part….if a gang decided to adopt Tapout t-shirts as their gang member clothing, continued committing crimes while wearing them, then absolutely at some point people are going to link the two. Then you would have the same problem, gang members representing tapout, and fans who just like the clothing and the sport. That doesn’t mean you ignore everyone in a tapout shirt because your scared of offending someone who isn’t a gang member, it means you just need to make sure you practice due diligence before acting. I don’t think Juggalo culture is dumb, its not for me, but to each his own. I don’t condone unprovoked violence in any way, shape, or form though so regardless if your doing it the name of ICP, God, or brothers on the block it should be dealt with.

          • Your response really isn’t cogent.

            It’s fine if “people” want to associate Jugglos with gang activity. I can’t tell them how to feel.

            The FBI, on the other hand, has a responsibility not to associate people with violent criminal organizations based on what’s on their iPod. This really isn’t a radical assertion.

          • what isn’t cogent? I will admit it was just free-written response I could have done better, its not a black and white issue, so I find it hard to explain exactly how I feel about it. I just think its a lot like Greenpeace. Its a group that on its own or as a whole don’t practice violence and have an entirely different approach to their goal than Eco terrorist…however once members of their group started tree spiking and burning hummers in the name of Greenpeace, or for that matter whatever environmentalist group they associated, then the group gets a bad wrap when in fact its two separate entities with the same name. You have peaceful Greenpeace activist and violent Greenpeace activist. How do you tell them a part when they all look the same and act the same right up until the actual crime is committed? Are all environmentalist terrorist, no, but some radicals who associate with those organizations and think they represent that organization are terrorist. Greenpeace is now listed on an eco-terrorist watch list and probably 95% of the group believes what the others did was wrong. Should they not be monitored because a majority aren’t violent, or should they be monitored to prevent the fringe psychos from committing crimes? Its one name and one group, you tell me.

          • P.S. this isn’t sarcasm, thank you for stating your opinion and finding flaws in my argument, I know its not perfect. Most of the time these message boards are just people being assholes to each other and never actually defending their own ideas or actually discussing the issue. Its refreshing. Don’t have to have the same opinion to have respectful conversations, I don’t think many people act that way.

          • By the way:

            >> That doesn’t mean you ignore everyone in a tapout shirt because your scared of offending someone who isn’t a gang member, it means you just need to make sure you practice due diligence before acting.

            This means you disagree with the FBI, and this judge’s ruling.

            The FBI report says that Juggalos, in general, are a gang. You know this isn’t true, and your response indicates that. Literally not one single person has said anything about ignoring every Juggalo to avoid offending anyone; we’re saying that the FBI should treat criminals as criminals and leave everyone else alone. So who are you even arguing with?

          • The report does include a distinction between the music fans and the gangs. I get what your calling me out on, it seems I’m contradicting myself at certain points, I agree. I guess what I’m trying to say is how do you classify these Juggalo Gangs(what they call themselves) without including the fact that being a Juggalo is part of who they are as a criminal. It would be like trying to describe a Muslim extremist without being able to tie the fact that they are Muslim to why they do what they do, its central to why they do criminal acts.
            I guess they could clarify by saying “Juggalo Gangs” and using only that term when talking about them instead of Juggalos in general.
            If your interested here is the report.

  13. Ignorant close minded people are just simply afraid of what they don’t understand! I have Juggalo ink all over my body and I damn proud to have each and every piece! The F.B.I. could bust my door down right now and I would just holler WHOOP WHOOP as loud as possible!!! I’ll be down with the clown no matter what BS happens to follow! I was prepared for that and always will be. I can tell you all this much this Sick Juggalo won’t go down without a fight!!!!

  14. God help us all if the FBI finds out about the Wu Tang Clan.

  15. This whole thing leaves me feeling very conflicted.

  16. Blake Edwards: I’m not allowed to continue our thread, but I want to respond to your point:

    >> How do you tell them a part when they all look the same and act the same right up until the actual crime is committed?

    The answer is that you don’t. I know this is a radical idea in post-9/11 America, but you’re actually not supposed to prosecute people for their potential future crimes. A person who has not committed a crime is by definition not a criminal.

    Maybe this stuff gets a little fuzzy when we’re talking about Al-Qaeda, but we’re not. I really don’t think the Buckfuck, Ohio Police Department needs to keep dossiers on every pudgy teenage Juggalo to preemptively stop a crime that one of them might commit. This isn’t “Minority Report”.

    • Its funny you mentioned “Minority Report” I was actually thinking of that as I was writing that part. I agree were not trying to prosecute people before crimes have even been committed, but in general law enforcement is supposed to be a preventative measure. That’s why they have heavy police presence at certain events, not to catch criminals after the fact, but to act as a deterrent so people don’t commit the crime in the first place. I think if people are aware that Juggalos can become a “gang-like” mentality group it gives law enforcement a better chance of preventing it. How…I have no f’ing idea, but knowledge is power they can figure something out.

      • We just have a fundamental disagreement about what law enforcement is for. It’s a very new idea that regular cops are supposed to be a paramilitary force standing around in riot gear to make sure nobody gets out of hand. That sort of thing made people very uncomfortable up until very recently, when security theater became de rigeur. Yet somehow this heightened security has only made us more fearful and insecure — so much so that the largest law enforcement agency on the planet is focusing its energies on a rap group most people have never even heard of.

        In your own response you say you “have no f’ing idea” how this FBI report could possibly make anyone safer, but you favor it purely because “knowledge is power”. I’d argue that the FBI already has all the power it could ever want, and the world is no safer for it. Maybe it’s time to scale back a bit and stop using bogeymen to justify increased discretion and funding.

        • I also just noticed your comment upthread:

          >> It would be like trying to describe a Muslim extremist without being able to tie the fact that they are Muslim to why they do what they do, its central to why they do criminal acts.

          Actually, yes. It’s exactly like that.

          Do you support the FBI describing the entire Muslim population (2.6 million people) as a “loosely organized hybrid terror sect”? If not, why does it make sense to describe ICP fans (5+ million records sold) similarly?

          The Latin Kings are a dangerous gang, and the fact that they associate with Latino identity is obviously part of what goes into investigating them. But no one would dream of claiming that the existence of the Latin Kings means that Latinos, in general, are a gang.

          • I will say you have swayed me slightly from my initial stance, it was far to broad, but I think I’m still on the side that as a group they merit monitoring because its a clear link between ICP fans and those that become Juggalo gang members, not that all become gang members but for some the ICP lifestyle/mentality is the spark. I agree you can’t call all muslims extremist terrorist, but being muslim becomes before becoming a muslim extremist in the same way one would need to be a juggalo before becoming a juggalo gang member. As far as how the law enforcement uses that, maybe they just start to notice patterns for drug trafficking within that gang I don’t know because I’m not in law enforcement logistics. Part of understanding the latin kings comes from understanding Mexican culture and the drug cartels in mexico, just like understanding juggalo culture can help law enforcement understand how juggalo gangs work and who they target. I guess if they are self admitted Juggalo gang members…what is the FBI supposed to classify them as? The report makes the distinction between non-violent fans and violent gang members. The same as we acknowledge Islam as a peaceful religion, but a religion that extremist use to justify their actions. After reading the report I honestly thing this article and the lawsuit are misleading. If a gang started calling themselves the Boston Red Sox Gang and beat people up outside the baseball games, the FBI would identify them the Red SoxGang because they call themselves that. The red sox organization, games, fans, would be intrigal to what makes that gang different from others. If the cops know, they can look for identifying things about those gang members and be more aware of the situation. So if you don’t believe in preventative measures for law enforcement, should they just be a response unit for crimes already committed? I don’t think that police presence as a preemptive approach to stopping crime is really that new at all. In ancient times it just used to be soldiers. Ancient Romans had soldiers monitoring the city.

      • Sorry for the upthread response but for some reason Stereogum won’t let me respond to your last post.

        You say: “I’m still on the side that as a group they merit monitoring because its a clear link between ICP fans and those that become Juggalo gang members, not that all become gang members but for some the ICP lifestyle/mentality is the spark.”

        Therefore: I’m still on the side that as a group all Latinos merit monitoring because its a clear link between Latinos and those that become Latin Kings gang members, not that all become gang members but for some the Latino lifestyle/mentality is the spark.

        Or: I’m still on the side that as a group all Muslims merit monitoring because its a clear link between Islam and those that become Islamic terrorists, not that all become terrorists but for some the Muslim lifestyle/mentality is the spark.

        Or: I’m still on the side that as a group all motorcyclists merit monitoring because its a clear link between riding a motorcycle and those that become Hell’s Angels, not that all become Hell’s Angels but for some the motorcycle lifestyle/mentality is the spark.

        I mean, I’m not trying to say that the Juggalo struggle (the struggalo?) is equivalent to systemic racism or Islamophobia. I’m just saying that the logic you’re employing is not an appropriate basis for categorizing criminals. You’re taking one non-criminal aspect of a criminal’s identity (e.g. his favorite band) and extrapolating that as a basis for profiling several million citizens. It’s just not a responsible or sustainable way to fight crime.

  17. This is totally ridiculous and I take severe offense to this. I am an ICP fan, always have been always will be. Am I in a “gang”? No. Have I ever committed a crime? No. Actually, I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and was a preschool teacher for years! I have a very good job, a great house, a wonderful relationship .. AND I’M AN ICP FAN. Stop stereotyping people!!!!!!!!!!! I have been friends with juggalos my entire life, and not one of them grew up to be terrible and go on a crime-spree. Just because there’s a few bad eggs in the carton, doesn’t mean they are all ruined. Every group has it’s losers and winners. Screw you, FBI, for categorizing ME and tons of other innocent fans under the “gang” stereotype!!!!!!

    A Juggalette-With-A-Life

  18. Don’t know nuthin about ICP…
    Know that since the US Prison System became privatized (which should just be totally illegal as all hell) it became profitable to incarcerate people…
    Why not brand whole subcultures as “dangerous”.

    Judge = “For fighting in public I sentence you to 6 months probation and 30 hours of community service.”
    Prosecutor = “But your Honor, he is a ICP member.”
    Judge = “Oh, so right. I sentence you to five years in Halliburton State Penitentiary where you will work to pay your room and board.”

  19. i have heard of this band before. My cousin loves them. i believe she is a pretty hardcore fan and believe me she is no gang bangin piece of shit. lady gaga at one time referred to her fans as her lil monsters does that make my 9 and 5 year old little girls gangster as well? the Kottonmouth Kings call their followers kings and qweens so what about them are the a gang as well? And what about all the other artisits and their fans/followers? I guess we are all gang bangers, because we all have favorite musician/band. and in every group there are violent rude and annoying people who commit crimes and make others look bad. good day to all my fellow gangster.

  20. serious question- are there any ICP fans that don’t exude the white trash motif?

    • @youmustlearn. Wow really? At what point did I become white trash? I have a good job, live in a decent house, use correct english, etc. Basically the opposite of what would be considered “white trash motif”. So besides the fact I find that incredibly offensive I also agree everyone is entitled to their own opinion. With that said, really what was the point of your comment? Since it is a “serious question” and all, here is your answer. This fan doesn’t “exude the white trash motif”. Thanks for the support. Geez some people.

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