Thursday, July 5, 2018

Juggalo makeup can thwart facial recognition technology

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 2:01 PM

click to enlarge Left: Thora Bjorg Helga in an Icelandic black metal film Metalhead. Right: Insane Clown Posse's Violent J. Note the false jawline created by Violent J's Juggalo makeup. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Left: Thora Bjorg Helga in an Icelandic black metal film Metalhead. Right: Insane Clown Posse's Violent J. Note the false jawline created by Violent J's Juggalo makeup.

The Juggalos — those jolly fans of the Detroit rap duo Insane Clown Posse — have taken great pains to insist they are not a criminal gang. However, it appears that their signature clown makeup can have an unintended effect of allowing them to fly under the radar, so to speak, by thwarting facial recognition technology.

The discovery was made by Twitter user Takhion, a tech blogger for WonderHowTo, who posted his findings on Saturday. "If you want to avoid surveillance, become a Juggalo I guess," he wrote.

Tahkion found that the clown makeup could trick the facial recognition software depending on how it is applied. For example, Tahkion shows how actress Thora Bjorg Helga's jawline is discernable even after applying black metal makeup in the Icelandic film Metalhead. However, Juggalos Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope of ICP black out their faces above the chin but below the mouth, creating a false jawline that confuses the technology.

Of course, as Tahkion points out, if a Juggalo really wanted to avoid recognition, they would have to apply their makeup differently each time.

ICP insists their fans are not a gang. In 2014, the group filed a lawsuit with the ACLU against the United States Department of Justice and the FBI after the DOJ identified Juggalos as a "loosely organized hybrid gang" in its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. Last year, an appeals court dismissed the suit, though the ACLU encourages Juggalos to sue local police over individual cases of discrimination.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

Tags: , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 24, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation