Horrorcore hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse has declared that they would be suing the FBI for classifying their devoted fanbase--known as "Juggalos"--as a gang in the 2011 National Gang Assessment.
The rappers said they would go through with the lawsuit ""no matter what it costs or what it takes," eliciting cheering, cheers of "Family," and even some crying.
The "Juggalos" are best known for their elaborate, clownish make-up and annual "Gathering of the Juggalos" celebration.
The FBI maintains, however, that subsets of the Juggalos "exhibit gang-like behavior and engage in criminal activity in violence," according to the 2011 report.
The FBI classifies the Juggalos as a "loosely-organized hybrid gang."
The report defines a hybrid gang as being a "non-traditional gang with multiple affiliations," and notes that most crimes committed by Juggalos "involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism."
While "criminal Juggalo sub-sets" have been identified in 21 states, Juggalos are only formally recognized as a gang in four states, according to the report.
Almost a year later, ICP is fighting back against the classification.
"Let's get this straight, a Juggalo is not a gang member," Violent J, one member of the ICP duo, told Vice.
Violent J went on to explain how the classification could seriously harm individual fans. He offered the hypothetical example of a fan who simply got an ICP-related tattoo many years ago.
If such a fan were to get picked up for a minor offense like a speeding ticket, "he's in the gang file… Suddenly, it ain't just somebody who fucked up, it's a gang member that fucked up, and they're getting a heavier sentence."
Some Juggalos have already suffered. Arizona man Shawn Wolf says his appreciation of ICP cost him custody of his son, according to Spin.
"The state of California flew to my house [to see if I was fit], and it's all ICP-decked out," Wolf said. "Just because of that, I was kind of screwed."
Violent J added that the lawsuit wasn't just for their fans, but also for the employees of Psychopathic Records, the independent record label founded by ICP.
"Some of these people... have been working here for 20 years," he said. "That's their career now. They have kids, and wives, and husbands. Next thing you know, they're working for a gang."
ICP and Psychopathic Records have launched the website Juggalos Fight Back in order to help build their case against the FBI.
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