Terrorizing People in Clown Masks Is Not Cool & Target Doesn't Want to Be Part of It

In general, 2016 has been a wild year. The election has been bonkers start to finish, the celeb deaths are not stopping, and Brad and Angelina broke up. Like, what the hell? But the people running around in clown masks have, without a doubt, topped the list of weirdest 2016 trends. Normally, we wouldn't worry about them too much. But since some of them have knives and are apparently trying to hurt people, we're paying attention. Thankfully, Target is, too, and it's pulling most of its clown masks from shelves (physically and online) through Halloween.


Look, we all know that if a guy wants to terrorize people on the street but can't find his freaky clown mask at Target, he'll just find it somewhere else. But that's sort of not the point.

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Target's not trying to single-handedly stop the clown craze in its tracks. It's just saying, "This is bad and we're not going to contribute to it anymore" but, you know, in more corporate-y speak. From a Target rep to ABC News:

We had a few masks in stores, which we began to pull last week. We also have edited down our assortment online. You'll still find clown masks there, but we made the decision to pull back on the number ... [out of] sensitivity to the issue at hand.

"The issue at hand" is a very generous way to refer to the absolute nonsense that started sometime around August -- at first, the worst the clowns cruising around cities and neighborhoods were doing was terrifying and terrorizing people on the street. But in the past few weeks, their aggression ramped up to the point where a clown in New York City chased a 16-year-old through the subway with a knife.

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No one's been hurt, but at least 17 people have been arrested so far for committing various crimes while dressed as clowns (and many, many more were arrested for threats or false reports relating to the clown thing). As of mid-October, the clowns have reportedly shown up in more than 37 states.

So to say it's an "issue" is an understatement, not that it makes it any more or less impressive that Target is doing what it can about it. Its move to stop selling clown masks is a surprisingly decent thing for a capital-c Corporation to do, especially in a world where sales are always the bottom line. We wouldn't have faulted Target for selling the masks, just like we're not faulting anyone else. 

But now that it's made the decision to pull the masks, we kind of hope other stores will, too.


Image via Kobzev Dmitry/Shutterstock

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