As the much-anticipated big screen adaptation of Stephen King horror classic "It" -- featuring terrifying clown/monster Pennywise -- prepares to hit theaters this weekend, real life clowns are once again bracing for a public backlash. And according to one clowning official (yes, that's a real thing), it's causing many professionals to lose business.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Pam Moody, the president of the World Clown Association (WCA for short), said she's had members report having shows at schools and libraries suddenly canceled in recent months. And that's thanks to "It" and Pennywise, Moody says, noting that King's 1986 novel and its 1990 ABC miniseries launched a wave of coulrophobia -- a.k.a. fear of clowns -- from which the WCA has yet to truly recover.

Last year's wave of creepy clown sightings, featuring pranksters in cheap Halloween masks -- some of them wielding weapons -- lurking in neighborhoods throughout the country, didn't help matters either, Moody told THR. The "blindsided" organization wrote a guide for its members, timed to the release of "It," in response.

Per THR:

That guide, "WCA Stand on Scary Clowns !!," reminds the WCA membership that the "art of clown is something to be treasured and enjoyed" and that "just because someone wears a rubber Halloween mask, that does not make one a clown!" It also recommends "that young children not be exposed to horror movies" such as It.

As for this latest onscreen version of Pennywise, Moody wants the public to know that he doesn't represent clowns at all.

"It's a science-fiction character," she told THR. "It's not a clown and has nothing to do with pro clowning."

"It" -- which is poised to break box office records -- is due in theaters this Friday.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter]