DETROIT (AP) — The Insane Clown Posse sued the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday over a 2011 FBI report that describes the rap-metal duo’s devoted fans, the Juggalos, as a dangerous gang, saying the designation has tarnished their fans’ reputations and hurt business.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in Detroit federal court on behalf of the group’s two members, Joseph Bruce, or Violent J, and Joseph Utsler, or Shaggy 2 Dope. It also names four fans as plaintiffs.
The FBI report on criminal gangs labeled the Juggalos as a “loosely organized hybrid gang.” It said those who identify as Juggalos have committed assaults and vandalism, and a “small number” of them have engaged in more serious crimes.
The lawsuit contends that the gang designation violates the fans’ free speech and due process rights.
At a news conference in Detroit, Bruce, 41, said Juggalos are like a family, not a gang. He said they have a constitutional right to listen to music without fear of harassment, and he wants Juggalos purged from the report.
“I don’t think this has anything to do with hip hop. I think they just fear what they don’t understand,” Bruce said of law enforcement.
An email seeking comment from the FBI was not immediately returned.
Among the fans suing is Scott Gandy, of Concord, N.C. He said the Army told him that in order to join, he would first have to get his Insane Clown Posse tattoos removed because they were gang symbols. Gandy said he spent hundreds of dollars removing them, only to be rejected by the Army anyway.
Brandon Bradley, 20, of Sacramento, Calif., said he has been stopped by police and photographed because of his Juggalos tattoos and attire, including a necklace with a man carrying a hatchet. It is an Insane Clown Posse symbol.
White Artists We Could Have Sworn Were Black
15 photos Launch gallery
1. Daley is 24 years-old and is on his way to redefining the way R&B/Soul not only looks but sounds and feels.
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2. Teena Marie's range and classic R&B hits often made people question her ethnicity. (Retna)
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3. Michael McDonald surprised alot of people when they found out who was singing the hit "I Keep Forgetting."(PrPhotos)
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4. If you listened to singer Allen Stone's music you wouldn't know he is a blonde, blue-eyed hippie.
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5. Late Singer Amy Winehouse's soulful, unique voice often had her mistaken for a black, blues singer. (PrPhotos)
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6. R&B star Robin Thicke's sweet, falsetto is commonly mistaken for a black soul artist.(PrPhotos)
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7. Superstar Christina Aguilera is often tapped to do tribute's to the greatest black superstars, and kills it.(PrPhotos)
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8. Hall and Oates, the popular duo had many people believing they were black due to their Philly style of music.
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9. When Justin Timberlake went solo,lots of people were googling who this new R&B artist was, to find it was him. (Prphotos)
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10. When soul singer Joss Stone first appeared on the scene, many were surprised to find out she's not black.(Pr)
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11. It's hard to believe the singer of the soulful "What You Won't Do For Love" Bobby Caldwell is a skinny, white guy.
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12. Fergie jumped on the scene with Hip-Hop group the Black Eyed Peas and held her own in the R&B genre. (PrPhotos)
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13. Jojo, the "Leave Get Out" singer was commonly mistaken for a black artist before learning she's white. (PrPhotos)
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14. Adele tore up the airwaves this past year, often being compared to Soul Legends for her voice. (PrPhotos)
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15. Phoebe Snow another artist with a lot of soul who most thought was at least part black. (PR)
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