Professional clowns are getting fed up with the recent reports of frightening incidents across the U.S. that has put many communities on high alert and tarnished the image of the performers.
The clown community in Tucson, Arizona organized a “Clown Lives Matter” march Wednesday that’s set to take place Oct. 15 in reaction to the reports of “killer clowns” terrorizing communities and the rumors on social media fanning the fears of clown attacks, according to KGUN9-TV.
The station reported that attendees are invited to participate in full clown makeup or masks.
“This is a peaceful way to show clowns are not psycho killers,” a flyer seen in Tucson read. “We want the public to feel safe, and not be afraid. So come out, bring the family, meet a clown and get a hug!"
More than 100 clowns are expected to show up in the so-called first ever “Clown Lives Matter” protest.
Authorities across the nation have been forced to take all clown threats seriously, even though dozens of rumors have turned out to be a hoax. Schools have even been forced to conduct lockdowns and cancel classes.
"There are many other emergencies and calls for service that troopers and other first responders need to get to without being misdirected to a prank," Connecticut state troopers said in a statement.
Officials at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, ordered students to shelter in place for more than 30 minutes Monday night and evacuated a dorm after social media reports that an armed clown could be on campus.
The clown situations "waste valuable resources and can lead to injuries to both first responders and members of the public," Connecticut state police said. The pranks "can cause major disruptions leading to schools, businesses and neighborhoods being placed into lockdown unnecessarily."
And it's not just at colleges. A false report last month of a clown grabbing a woman by the throat and threatening Reading, Ohio, schools led to classes being canceled for the day.
A 13-year-old student at Utley Middle School in Rockwall, Texas, was charged this week with making a terroristic threat after posting a purported clown's hit list. Police told Dallas-Fort Worth television station KDFW that the student put herself on the list and told authorities she was only trying to stop any "real" clowns from attacking her school.
Several teenagers in Connecticut were arrested Wednesday on charges of making threats, accused of posting clown hoaxes on Instagram that led to extra security at several school districts.
Police also warned that anyone making credible threats could be charged with a more serious felony under a law passed this year in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre. The law calls for up to 10 years in prison for anyone intending to cause the evacuation of a school or school grounds with a threat.
New Haven public schools banned clown costumes this Halloween season after an Instagram account emerged with pictures of menacing clowns and captions telling several area schools to "watch out" and "wait and see" whether the threats are fake.
According to Fox 43, clown fears have tarnished the business of Pennsylvania’s Snuggles the Clown. The performer said he was having a hard time trying to convince kids he’s not trying to hurt them.
“Everyone took this as a joke but it’s really become serious now, and I just want all these teenagers to know that it’s not a game anymore,” Snuggles, whose real name is Jordan Jones, told the station. “You’re ruining my job and other actors around the world.”
The performer also said he hopes people could look up to him and take the profession seriously.
"They need a positive role model like myself. Yes, I'm in the clown suit, but at the end of the day I'm a brother, I'm a nephew, I'm an uncle, I have a family," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.