A member of the rap duo Insane Clown Posse said an Atlantic article that trashed the group and its fans by comparing them to Donald Trump’s presidency was “off the mark.”
On Tuesday, Atlantic writer Graeme Wood published a piece titled “What to Do With Trumpists” in which he invoked Juggalos ― the affectionate name for fans of ICP ― in his commentary about the Trump administration, which he referred to as “the political equivalent of the Insane Clown Posse.”
At noon tomorrow, our four-year experiment in being governed by the political equivalent of the Insane Clown Posse will finally end. It is ending in Juggalo style (some have called it “Trumpalo”), violently and pointlessly, with a handful of deaths, the smearing of various bodily fluids, and a riot on the way out. After any bacchanal of this magnitude, the sober dawn is almost as disorienting as the hysteria itself—and the most urgent task, after wiping the shit from the Capitol hallways, is to prevent a repeat performance.
Despite themes of violence in ICP’s music, multiple documentaries about Juggalos show they are less interested in the violent lyrics than in the sense of community the rap duo fosters. ICP has a loyal fan base whose members refer to each other as “family” and who have pushed back against the FBI’s absurd designation of Juggalos as a “gang.”
In 2017, thousands of Juggalos showed up in Washington, D.C., to protest the FBI’s distinction of the group as a “loosely organized hybrid gang.” The protest actually drew a larger crowd than a competing pro-Trump rally that same day.
Violent J, who formed ICP with Shaggy 2 Dope, told HuffPost in a series of texts that he found Wood’s description to be inaccurate.
“I can’t believe TheAtlantic.com would hire a writer, presumably for his expertise in journalism who’s that off the mark, as well as an editor for his or her fact checking abilities who obviously lives within a reality separate from our own when it comes to defining who Juggalos truly are and what they’re about,” he wrote.
Unlike Trump, ICP also showed leadership in the fight against the coronavirus. The group canceled its yearly Gathering of the Juggalos the same month the president was downplaying the virus.
“The bottom line is that we REFUSE to risk even ONE Juggalo life by hosting a Gathering during these troubling times,” ICP tweeted last April.
Daniel Dale, a reporter for CNN, tweeted that covering the 2017 Juggalo protest “was the most pleasant reporting experience I’ve had in Washington. The Juggalos were unfailingly, sometimes comically friendly.”
That description is a far cry from the pro-Trump protest on Jan. 6 that eventually devolved into an insurrection that left five people dead, including a police officer.
In a follow-up text on Tuesday, Violent J said he was hurt to see Wood’s mischaracterization of the Juggalo community.
“The truth is it fuckin’ hurts and [it’s] scary seeing professional adults acting like savage bullies,” he said, noting that ICP fans make “easy targets because they’re so misunderstood.”
He added: “sad little bullshit like this makes me question the media in general and [lose] a little faith in just about [everything] I fuckin read!”
Wood’s piece prompted criticism on Twitter, including from New York Times technology reporter Taylor Lorenz.
Wood and The Atlantic did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Asked how Violent J would define a Juggalo, he texted a litany of positive descriptors:
“Welcoming, warm, funny, encouraging, creative, understanding, thoughtful, loyal, faithful, down to the end, open minded, non judgmental, trust worthy, funny as fuck, real, unique, down as can be, fearless, proud, loud, hard working, deep, friendly, reliable, and fuckin’ mad fun!”