Insane Clown Posse has sued the government for labeling their fans as gang members, according to the Associated Press. The AP reported Wednesday that a Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit on behalf of ICP members Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope (real names Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler).
The ACLU filed paperwork in a federal court in Detroit on Jan. 8. The suit names the U.S. Justice Department and is being brought on the grounds the gang designation associated with the band is bad for business. Also, the band claims, their free speech is being infringed upon by the undesirable label because said label is issued based on the content of their art.
Insane Clown Posse Lawsuit: Rap-Metal Duo Sues Justice Dept. Over Juggalos' Gang Designation
Back in 2011, an FBI report on ICP fans in general, known as Juggalos, named the group a "loosely organized hybrid gang" and pointed to crimes committed or alleged to have been committed by these Juggalos.
The lawsuit is asking to have their fan base removed from the 2011 report, as they say anyone who names themselves as a fan of the rap-metal group's music is under unfair government scrutiny and could endure damage to their personal and professional reputations as a result. In addition to Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, the Insane Clown Posse lawsuit specifically names four Juggalos as fans harmed by the negative label.
"Our merchandise sales are just about cut in half. You don't see the stickers in the back windows anymore because everyone's afraid to wave the flag in their car," Joseph Bruce said in regards to the gang designation of his fans by the government. "They're afraid they're going to get pulled over and harassed." Bruce went on to explain how his fans have suffered for their loyalty to ICP, claiming some have lost friendships, jobs and even custody of their children.
This isn't the first Insane Clown Posse lawsuit against the feds; in 2012, the group sued to obtain records that related to the FBI report to try to find out how the conclusion that all Juggalos should henceforth be labeled as gang members was reached. The results of that suit were mixed; most of the information released through the suit was previously available.