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更新时间:2017-9-16 10:30:17 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Clown Hysteria Grips Australian Media After Group Vows to Descend on Suburbs

SYDNEY, Australia — “We’re coming back for you,” a post on Facebook warned. The purported threat? To send in the clowns.


If Australian news outlets and social media are to be believed, “20,000 anonymous clowns” are plotting a reign of terror.


The clowns — grown-ups in face paint and giant shoes — have threatened to do little beyond show up late at night in a handful of suburbs and look scary. However, the local news media has breathlessly described the group as “a chilling threat” and “creepy clown fanatics.”


The hysteria seems to have started with a Facebook page established last week. The anonymous creator of the page, called Clown Purge Australia, posted a photo of a clown, with a caption that read “IT” and an emoji of a red balloon, a homage to the blockbuster film that had its premiere in Australia last week.

这场歇斯底里的恐慌似乎始于上周创建的一个Facebook主页。该匿名创建的主页名为“澳大利亚小丑大清洗”(Clown Purge Australia),上面贴了一张小丑的照片,图释写着“IT”(它),还有一个红气球表情符,这是向上周在澳大利亚首映的卖座小丑电影《小丑回魂》(IT)致意。

Two days later, the account asserted, “On Halloween we’ll have 50 clowns go to one place.” That threat seemed to have been enough to thoroughly frighten Australians — a people who tend to pride themselves on a cheerful lack of fear.


“If they come at me with a knife, I’ll beat” them, Martin Lewis, a father from Melbourne, said in an interview. “And if I have my kids with me, I’ll do anything necessary to protect my family.”

“如果它们拿着刀来对付我,我会揍”它们,墨尔本一位名叫马丁·刘易斯(Martin Lewis)的父亲在采访中说。“如果孩子们正跟我在一起,为了保护我的家人,我什么都干得出来。”

The clowns never mentioned knives. Balloons, yes. Knives, no.


The public reaction seemed only to fuel the anonymous clown behind the Facebook page to seek more attention. The user promised to reveal the locations of the so-called purge if he reached a certain number of new followers. In just days, the account added more than 25,000 followers.


But as much as the person behind the account hoped to scare others, the scrutiny seemed also to freak him out.


“Us clowns mean no harm,” the user wrote on Facebook. “We don’t mean harm to anyone, we respect those that look overly-vulnerable and unstable as in elderly people and people with disabilities also younger kids.”


He then added the last thing any self-respecting killer clown would say: “We are doing this for fun and we are very cautious of our actions. You can stop with the toxicity now.”


The creator of the Australia Clown Purge page did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Several attempts to identify and contact clowns who planned to participate in the event were also unsuccessful. More Facebook pages promising similar meet-ups across the country have also emerged in recent days.


As purges go, this one appears particularly disorganized.


By Wednesday, the purge organizer was complaining about how “clown masks are so hard to rip bongs.”


Around this time last year, several cities in the United States and Australia reported clown sightings. In South Carolina, several children said clowns had tried to lure them into the woods. In Australia, an ax-wielding clown was arrested after menacing drive-through customers at a fast-food joint.


“Police forces have braced themselves for sightings of the red-nosed harlequins,” 7News reported this week.


But the authorities in Western Australia did not seem particularly concerned.


“You can’t just be arrested for wearing a clown suit,” said a spokesman for the Western Australia Police. “It’s what you’re doing at the time.”