According to the Insane Clown Posse’s Juggalo lawyer, Farris F. Haddad, his love of the rap duo could lose him his law license, as fans of the band are classified as a gang by Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Gang Intelligence Center.
Haddad, this week, lost the battle with the FBI when ICP’s suit against the government agency was dismissed by a judge in Michigan. Still, he doesn’t plan to lose the war.
“I am an attorney. I have been a huge fan of ICP and have been a Juggalo since I was 12 years old,” Haddad told MTV News. “I could potentially lose my law license for going to a concert or listening to a band or wearing a T-shirt or something like that because, technically, I am committing a crime or associating with criminals.”
So how did Haddad and other Juggalos — whom the lawyer said have lost custody of their kids, their jobs and access to certain public places like malls and parks — end up in this precarious anti-Juggalo situation? Allow us to break it down.
The New York Times reports that in 2011, a report by the FBI classified Juggalos as “a loosely organized hybrid gang” that engages in all kinds of illegal activities — “felony assaults, thefts, robberies and drug sales.” A “small number” of them have, the report said, committed more serious crimes.
Examples include Jacob D. Robida, who attached patrons of a gay bar in 2006, prompting ICP’s then-manager Alex Abbis to put out a statement saying, “Anyone that knows anything at all about Juggalos knows that in no way, shape or form would we ever approve this type of bullsh– behavior.”
ICP filed a suit against the FBI in January 2014 claiming that the report infringed on Juggalos’ First Amendment rights of free association and expression — and that fans had been consequently harassed by cops for their alleged gang associations.
“[Cops] are using fans’ clothing, they’re using their tattoos, the music that they listen to, to identify these people as criminals,” Haddad said, “even though they might be a lawyer like myself pr school teacher or EMS worker or — I mean there are even police officers that are Juggalos.”
He added that this is an unprecedented case in music history: It’s not like Directioners are considered a gang — nor were fans of the Beatles back in the day.
“There’s nothing like Juggalos out there,” ICP’s Violent J told MTV a few years back. “None of the fans that you’re talking about — Justin Bieber’s fans — we’re not knocking anybody’s fans out there, but there’s nothing like Juggalos. Juggalos aren’t fans to begin with — it’s a lifestyle. … Total strangers, drawn together in an immediate bond. And that is amazing.”
That Juggalo lifestyle, according to the FBI, will continued to be classified as dangerous, however, as U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland put the kibosh on the rap duo’s suit — and subsequent freedom from the “gang” label.
The FBI report “does not recommend any particular course of action for local law enforcement to follow, and instead operates as a descriptive, rather than prescriptive, assessment of nationwide gang trends,” the judge wrote in his opinion, according to the Associated Press. In short: Take it up with the offending law enforcement agents, not the FBI, if they harass you for being down with the clown.
“We definitely think the judge erred in his decision,” Haddad said. “So we’re hoping the Court Of Appeals makes the right decision — that the FBI is discriminating against Juggalos, basically. They caused the problem, so the solution has to start with the FBI.”
Insane Clown Posse, along with the Michigan the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, plan to keep fighting.