Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The latest movie adaptation of Stephen King's scary-clown thriller It has found itself a group of unusual detractors -- professional clowns.
World Clown Association president Pam Moody said the film, out Sept. 8, is the latest hit to the clowning industry in recent years, following a rash of creepy clown sightings in the 2016 Halloween season and the appearance of a horror clown on TV series American Horror Story.
"Last year we were really blindsided," Moody told The Hollywood Reporter of last year's nationwide clown sightings. "We've since created a press kit to prepare clowns for the movie coming out."
That guide, titled "WCA Stand on Scary Clowns!!," tells WCA members that the "art of clown is something to be treasured and enjoyed" and that "just because someone wears a rubber Halloween mask, that does not make one a clown!"
The guide recommends "that young children not be exposed to horror movies" in the vein of It.
"It all started with the original It," Moody said, referring to the 1990 miniseries that starred Tim Curry as Pennywise the clown-like demon. "That introduced the concept of this character. It's a science-fiction character. It's not a clown and has nothing to do with pro clowning."
Moody said the creepy clown industry has had a noticeable effect on the business of fun-loving clowns.
"People had school shows and library shows that were canceled," she said. "That's very unfortunate. The very public we're trying to deliver positive and important messages to aren't getting them."
Stephen King, whose 1986 novel inspired both the miniseries and the new film, acknowledged earlier this year that he had received complaints from real-life clowns.
"The clowns are pissed at me. Sorry, most are great. BUT...kids have always been scared of clowns. Don't kill the messengers for the message," he tweeted in April.
David Katzenberg, producer of the new film, told USA Today he heard some clowns were "furious" about the film, but he finds the controversy to be "somewhat absurd."
"It's not as if a group of NHL goalies got up and protested Jason or a group of toy manufacturers protested Chucky," producer Seth Grahame-Smith said, referring to the antagonists from the Friday the 13th and Child's Play films. "There's a long tradition in horror of these seemingly harmless things being perverted for that very reason, because they are seemingly harmless."