Some recent graduates of American University's Washington College of Law have put together this music video. It addresses some common legal-ethics problems, but you should watch it anyway because it's also a pretty good music video.
In this CNN clip posted today (if you can't see it, that's because it's in Flash), Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope of Insane Clown Posse talk about their music, fans, families, and (briefly) the FBI's ridiculous classification of all Juggalos as members or potential members of a "hybrid gang":
I can't claim to know much about the Juggalo phenomenon, but to me it seems no more or less weird than being a Deadhead. It involves a lot more profanity, so that's good.
Highlighted quote: "You call somebody a racial slur, I will stick my foot all the way to my hip into your [deleted]. You know what I'm sayin'?"
INSANE CLOWN POSSE AND PSYCHOPATHIC RECORDS RETAIN LEGAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE AND PURSUE LEGAL ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THE NATIONAL GANG INTELLIGENCE CENTER'S 2011 NATIONAL GANG THREAT ASSESSMENT
Musical Group to Spearhead Campaign to Defend the Rights of its Fan Base the Juggalos
CAVE-IN-ROCK, IL and LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 10, 2012 - Speaking to their fans and media on the site of their 13th annual "Gathering of the Juggalos" music festival, the Insane Clown Posse expressed concern for the well-being of their fan base, which was labeled a "gang" by The Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Gang Intelligence Center's 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. To that end, the duo of Violent J (Joseph Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler) announced that they, along with Psychopathic Records, have retained legal counsel to investigate and pursue legal action including monetary compensation and/or other injunctive relief on behalf of their fan base, the Juggalos.
If it seems odd that there will (hopefully) soon be a case captioned Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, et al. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, or maybe just In re Juggalos, it seems less odd to me than the FBI's classification of the "Juggalos" (a term used to refer to fans of Insane Clown Posse) as a "loosely-organized hybrid gang." Even more disturbing than the FBI's use of a hyphen after an adverb is its apparent belief that all Juggalos are criminals just because some criminals may also be Juggalos.
I first reported on this trend last year after police in Oklahoma initially blamed a hit-and-run on a "Juggalo" just because the alleged perpetrator was wearing clown makeup. See "Suspect's Juggalo Status Unclear, Say Juggalo Experts," Lowering the Bar (May 31, 2011). To his credit, the local police chief later came to the group's defense, saying "We know our Juggalos here. They've always been law-abiding." For some reason, the FBI can't make the same distinction.
According to the FBI's 2011 assessment, a "hybrid gang" is a "non-traditional gang" with "multiple affiliations, ethnicities, [a] migratory nature and nebulous structure" and a membership that is "transient and continuously evolving." Well, since that also describes the Junior League, the Democratic Party, and the cast of Saturday Night Live, I have some concerns with that definition to begin with. And according to the FBI, the Juggalos are a "loosely-organized hybrid gang," so that's really starting to sound like, I don't know, maybe NOT A GANG AT ALL. As the FBI concedes:
Most crimes committed by Juggalos are sporadic, disorganized, individualistic, and often involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism. However, open source reporting suggests that a small number of Juggalos are forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity, such as felony assaults, thefts, robberies, and drug sales.
"Fig. 5. Juggalo member"
Again, even more disturbing than its failure to hyphenate "open-source reporting" is its apparent classification of an entire group (of music fans!) as a "gang" based on, well, open-source reporting "suggesting" that a "small number" of people who happen to be members of that group are acting "more gang-like." C'mon, FBI. I have no doubt that there are Juggalos who are criminals and criminals who are Juggalos (are we really having this conversation? I guess so), and maybe even actual gangs who call themselves "the Juggalos," but to label a whole group of music fans as potentially criminal for that reason is nothing but guilt by association.
Are you now or have you ever been a Juggalo?
As Insane Clown Posse told its fans at the "Gathering of the Juggalos" (presumably now infiltrated by federal agents?), it has decided to stand up for its fans and has retained counsel to consider legal action. The press release also included this:
Insane Clown Posse and Psychopathic Records' legal counsel, Howard Hertz of Hertz Schram PC, has released the following statement:
"We are seeking individual Juggalos whose rights have been violated as a result of the mistaken belief that they are a 'gang member.' If you or someone you know has suffered any negative consequence with an employer, governmental representative, including law enforcement, border patrol, airline security, or other local, state or federal governmental agency or employee as a result of your status as a Juggalo, we want to know about it."
Initial officer information was that the suspect was on foot heading toward the downtown, with a dog and a banjo.... Minutes earlier, the suspect had refused to show identification, and began yelling and swearing at the bartender after being asked to do so. He threatened the victim with bodily harm while swinging his banjo. The musical instrument struck the bartender’s leg, but he was not injured.
The suspect then pulled a hatchet out of his backpack, which escalated things considerably. The bartender ran back inside, locked the door, and called police. They quickly located the suspect, primarily by looking for a guy on foot with a dog and a banjo. "When asked if he wished to talk about what happened," says the report, "he said not without a lawyer as 'I've been through this before.'" Wise choice, O traveling minstrel.
I TOOK MY DAUGHTER TO A JUSTIN BIEBER CONCERT JULY 14 2010 AT THE ROSE QUARTER IN PORTLAND OREGON. DUE TO AN UNFORESEEN ASPECT OF THE SHOW, I WAS INJURED BY A SOUND BLAST THAT EXCEEDED SAFE DECIBEL LEVELS.… THE INCIDENT OF INJURY WAS WHEN JUSTIN BIEBER CLIMBED INTO A HEART SHAPED, ALUMINUM/STEEL GONDOLA AND WAS PULLED OUT OVER THE CROWD. MR. BIEBER CREATED A WAVE LIKE EFFECT OF SCREAMING BY POINTING INTO VARIOUS SECTIONS OF THE ARENA. THEN ENTICED THE CROWD INTO A FRENZY OF SCREAMS BY CONTINUOUSLY WAVING HIS ARMS IN A QUICK AND UPWARD MOTION, WHEREAS I WAS STRUCK WITH A SOUND BLAST. THE GONDOLA THAT JUSTIN BIEBER WAS SUSPENDED IN ACTED AS A SOUND CONDUCTOR CREATING A SOUND BLAST THAT PERMANENTLY DAMAGED BOTH OF MY EARS.
Plaintiff, who surprisingly is representing herself, is demanding a mere $9,230,000 from Bieber, his record label, and the event producers for this incident of injury, plus an undisclosed amount for costs, travel expenses and attorney fees. Will the heart-shaped gondola manufacturer be accused of making a defective heart-shaped gondola? Stay tuned.
Arguably, plaintiff should also sue the audience members who actually created the sound that harmed her, but I don't think that'll happen. They were clearly innocent pawns, defenseless against Mr. Bieber's uncanny ability to generate a typhoon of scream waves by continuously waving his arms in a quick and upward motion.
If only he had chosen to use this mighty power for good instead of evil.