The rap duo Insane Clown Posse appealed Tuesday the dismissal of their lawsuit against the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation for officially labeling their fan base a gang.
The lawsuit was filed in Michigan court by fans, known as "Juggalos," claiming they get harassed by local authorities from California to Tennessee for displaying group-inspired tattoos and clothing. Insane Clown Posse is Joseph Bruce (Violent J) and Joseph Utsler (Shaggy 2 Dope), two rappers who don clown makeup. The band has multiple platinum albums.
Last week, a U.S. District judge dismissed the lawsuit, claiming that band and its fans lack standing, meaning they could not prove harm.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is working with the band to get the suit back in the system.
“The only way to remedy this injustice for all innocent Juggalos is to start with the root of the problem – the FBI’s arbitrary and erroneous branding of hundreds of thousands of music fans as gang members,” Michael Steinberg, ACLU of Michigan legal director, said in a statement.
The lawsuit was filed in January in an effort to combat a 2011 decision by the DOJ to add the fan base to the agency’s third National Gang Threat Assessment, officially identifying Juggalos as a “hybrid gang.”
“This is not the end, we’ll keep fighting to clear the Juggalo family name,” Bruce said in a statement. “There has never been -- and will never be -- a music fan base quite like Juggalos, and while it is easy to fear what one does not understand, discrimination and bigotry against any group of people is just plain wrong and un-American.”
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