Documentary about ICP's fight to get Juggalos taken off of FBI gang watchlist finally has a trailer

Sep 23, 2021 at 5:04 pm
click to enlarge Juggalos march on Washington, DC in 2017 to protest the FBI's gang designation. - Nicole Glass Photography /
Nicole Glass Photography /
Juggalos march on Washington, DC in 2017 to protest the FBI's gang designation.

"The World's Most Hated Band" was once America's Most-Wanted — and now Detroit's own Insane Clown Posse is sharing its side of the story.

A new documentary titled The United States of Insanity just landed a distribution deal by Strike Back Studios, and will premier at Fantastic Fest on Sep. 28. The film explores ICP's Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J's fight to defend their fans, the Juggalos, in the wake of the FBI classifying the group as "a loosely organized hybrid gang."

Did the FBI place the entire ICP fanbase on a government watchlist all for ... having bad taste in music?

"We made USA Today's 'worst album of the year,' GQ's 'worst artist of all time," ICP's Violent J says in the trailer. "We embrace the hate. People hate what they can't understand. If this happened to a band America liked, the country would be up in arms about this."

Directed by Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez, the documentary shines a light on how ICP came to wage an unlikely war on the FBI after the gang designation was established in the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report put out by the National Gang Intelligence Center.

"Our goal is to put the audience through our own paces of discovery during the seven years we filmed with ICP, their fans, their lawyers, and the government agencies pursuing them," Putnam told Deadline. "ICP’s extensive archive of music videos, home movies, documentaries, and feature films are layered throughout our movie as well, helping us paint a unique story of two high school dropouts [who] achieved their own American dream while bringing people along for the ride."

The horror-rappers teamed up with the ACLU to file a federal lawsuit, claiming the reckless designation had put Juggalos in harm's way, compromised their jobs, and, in some cases, lost children to Child Protective Services. After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled against ICP in 2017, the Juggalos held a massive march on Washington, D.C., to protest the designation and the subsequent ill treatment of their hatchet man-wielding family.

"Insane Clown Posse can’t get its music on the radio, but claims to have 1 million devoted fans who call themselves 'Juggalos' or 'Juggalettes,' and sometimes paint their faces to look like wicked clowns," reads a declassified FBI document that suggests Juggalos follow ICP in a religious manner, "are in a type of gang war in California with the MS-13 gang," all while failing to make a single mention of Faygo, the faithful nectar of the Juggalos.

Following the documentary's debut in September, Strike Back will partner with Fathom Events for a theatrical release on Oct. 26. The screenings will include ICP concert footage.

Earlier this year, Violent J, 49, revealed a heart condition that has forced the duo to take a look at the group's future. In 2022, ICP will embark on a farewell world tour, which does not mean ICP is retiring from recording new music or performing one-off events like the gathering or Detroit's Hallowicked. It will, however, mark the end of extensive touring, as the band has been known to do.

You can watch the trailer for United States of Insanity below.

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