Juggalo makeup can thwart facial recognition technology

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.

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
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