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January 9th, 2014
07:17 PM ET

'Insane Clown Posse' fights gang label

(CNN) - "Insane Clown Posse" is a horror core band mixing rap, heavy metal, and heavy make-up. Their songs often focused on homicidal themes.

The Detroit based duo, "Violent J" and "Shaggy 2 Dope," formed two decades ago and has sold millions of albums.

They've also inspired an intensely loyal following among their fans who call themselves "Juggalos," and share a subculture, and a love of face paint.

Every year since 2007, the fans have gathered for a week-long summer festival "The Gathering of the Juggalos" in southern Illinois. The event attracts 10,000 people and heaps of trouble. There have been four deaths in recent years and dozens of arrests according to the Illinois state police.

"We're the most hated band because people hate, and people fear what they don't understand," said Violent J. "There's a lot more to us than just the surface or what you hear in one of our songs."

Those songs are often profanity-laced, fictional narratives that the band says actually have an underlying positive message.

But the Federal Bureau of Investigation disagreed. In 2011 the Juggalos ended up on the national gang threat assessment as "a loosely-organized hybrid gang."

"A small number of Juggalos are forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity," the FBI says.

"Let me tell you something about Juggalos man, they're human beings man, they're not Neanderthals," said Violent J. "They know not to go out and murder somebody because of our music."

Now the members of the insane clown posse and four Juggalos have partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union to sue the FBI, saying that designation has led to police harassment and denial of employment.

The FBI and the Justice Department told CNN they were aware of the lawsuit, but declined to comment on the pending litigation.

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