Clown community feels 'It' film puts them in negative light

Some clowns say their gigs at schools and hospitals were canceled after a rash of creepy clown sightings last year.

Now they're worried about another backlash when one of the most anticipated movies of the fall hits the silver screen.

For 3 years, Julia Bothun was a professional clown for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

But she doesn't think the new movie "IT", based on a Stephen King novel, is exactly "The Greatest Show On Earth."

"It makes your heart hurt." Rothun said. "It's coming up again, it's getting popular...fear of clowns is popular."

The movie "It" which hits theaters next Friday is about a killer clown named Pennywise who stalks children in the sewers beneath a small town in Maine.

Arriving about a month before the latest season of "American Horror Story," which features a creepy clown cult, the World Clown Association is worried the film will scare business away from working clowns because of people who are aren't able to tell fact from fiction.

"Anytime I meet someone who is afraid of clowns, they always say it goes back to 'I saw that movie when I was little.' I say 'that's not a real clown'. People need to know that," Bothun said.

Bothun says if clowns stop getting called to perform at birthday parties, hospitals and nursing homes, her family's custom clown costume shop in Maple Lake, the largest in the country, could feel the pinch.

"If clowns are are getting less work, they don't need costumes, they don't need makeup. they don't need anything that we have," Bothun said.

And she hopes movies like "It" don't make it more difficult for her and her peers to go clowning around.

"I'm not against there being a horror industry. I'm not against using clowns in the horror industry. I just wish people were more open to clowns being people," Bothun said.

If you are creeped out by clowns, you are going to be seeing more around town: the World Clown Association is holding its annual convention in Minneapolis for the first time next March.