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Clowns Left A Swastika Made Of Balloons Outside A Bookstore Over Its "No Clowns Allowed" Sign

They say stories about scary clowns terrorizing people have been "absolutely terrible" for business.

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A pair of angry clowns staged a protest at an independent bookstore in London, Ontario, after owners put an anti-clown sign in the window.

City Lights Bookshop

City Lights Bookshop tweeted out a photo of the sign, declaring the store a "scary clown free zone."

The store's co-owner Teresa Tarasewicz said it was meant to be a joke about the scary clown sightings across North America over the last few months.

"When the evil clown meme started, we thought it would be fun to put it in the window and say this was a no-scary-clowns zone," she told BuzzFeed News.

But not everyone found it funny. On Thursday, two professional clowns showed up at the store in full costume to demand the removal of the sign.

London Free Press / Via lfpress.com

In a confrontation caught on camera by the London Free Press, one of the performers told Tarasewicz that she was being "racist" against clowns.

"Why are you projecting this anger, this animosity toward people?" Buttons Blammo (aka Bryan Currie) demanded. "I have an everyday job."

Tarasewicz said she respects clowns, but she said she didn't appreciate the way the two performers chose to protest.

Eric Norwood / City Lights Bookshop

Currie attempted to graffiti her store window with erasable marker, and she said he told her "clown lives matter," which she found to be an inappropriate use of Black Lives Matter activism.

"When it was happening, I was backed against the glass at the front of the store. I felt quite personally threatened," she said.

Tarasewicz accused the two clowns of "casual use of loaded symbolism for a made-up cause."

When the clowns left, they placed a crude swastika made out of balloons outside the bookstore. Written on the ballon art was a reimagining of the business's name: "Nazi Lights Book Store."

Eric Norwood / City Lights Bookshop

Tarasewicz said she understands that professional clowns are probably under stress from the wave of bad publicity, but insisted that most people are smart enough to tell the difference between fun clowns and the scary ones in the news.

"It's something that's come out of our collective angst, somehow, and it'll disappear at some point as well. The people who are sensible still love clowns," she said.

Reached by email, Currie and Lori Ackerman (clown name Lulu Pullitzor Palooza) said this year's clown panic has hurt them and other performers.

"It has been absolutely terrible," Ackerman said.

Currie said it wasn't his goal to intimidate anyone, but he defended the protest, as well as the charged racial symbolism.

"I would like to apologize for any hurt feelings," he said. "I feel my character has been defaced, but I will combat racism and discrimination always."

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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