Updated:
Original:
Year
1997
Month Day
June 24

Disney pulls Insane Clown Posse album on release day

On June 24, 1997, the Walt Disney Corporation orders one of its subsidiary record labels to recall 100,000 already shipped copies of an album by a recently signed artist—Insane Clown Posse—on the day of its planned release. The issue at hand: the graphic nature of the Detroit “horror-core” rap duo’s lyrics.

Those not familiar with oeuvre of the group that Blender magazine named the “Worst Band in History” would do best to imagine, in the most literal way possible, what a rap group made up of actual insane clowns might look and sound like. Not “wacky” clowns or “spooky” clowns, but criminally insane clowns of the homicidal variety. 

Formed in Detroit in the early 1990s by the MCs Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, Insane Clown Posse had built a strong enough grassroots following with their first two albums and their bloody, special effects-laden live show to have their contract purchased for $1 million by Disney subsidiary Hollywood Records in 1997. Work began immediately on the group’s next album, The Great Milenko—a reference to one of many fictional characters in the tales of murder and mayhem in which the Posse trafficked. 

On June 24, 1997, with 100,000 copies already shipped and 14,000 already sold, The Great Milenko was poised to debut at #63 on the Billboard 200 album chart when corporate officials at Disney decided to cease production and begin an immediate recall of the album.

The rationale offered for the action by Disney officials was reasonable enough: They deemed the lyrical content of The Great Milenko to be inappropriately graphic. But the Insane Clowns and their handlers at Hollywood Records thought there was more to the recall. Just weeks earlier, a boycott of all Disney businesses had been threatened by the Southern Baptist Convention in protest of Disneyland’s “Gay Days,” and critics of Disney’s move voiced strong suspicion that this pressure is what encouraged Disney to crack down on Insane Clown Posse.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Mail bomb injures Yale professor

On June 24, 1993, Yale University computer science professor David Gelernter is seriously injured while opening his mail when a padded envelope explodes in his hands. The attack just came two days after a University of California geneticist was injured by a similar bomb and was ...read more

King Philip’s War begins

In colonial New England, King Philip’s War begins when a band of Wampanoag warriors raid the border settlement of Swansee, Massachusetts, and massacre the English colonists there. In the early 1670s, 50 years of peace between the Plymouth colony and the local Wampanoag Indians ...read more

Napoleon’s Grande Armee invades Russia

Following the rejection of his Continental System by Czar Alexander I, French Emperor Napoleon orders his Grande Armee, the largest European military force ever assembled to that date, into Russia. The enormous army, featuring some 500,000 soldiers and staff, included troops ...read more

U.S. Air Force reports on Roswell

On this day in 1997, U.S. Air Force officials release a 231-page report dismissing long-standing claims of an alien spacecraft crash in Roswell, New Mexico, almost exactly 50 years earlier. Public interest in Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs, began to flourish in the 1940s, ...read more

Senate repeals Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

On an amendment offered by Senator Robert Dole (R-Kansas) to the Foreign Military Sales Act, the Senate votes 81 to 10 to repeal the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. In August 1964, after North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked U.S. destroyers (in what became known as the Tonkin Gulf ...read more

Soviets blockade West Berlin

One of the most dramatic standoffs in the history of the Cold War begins as the Soviet Union blocks all road and rail traffic to and from West Berlin. The blockade turned out to be a terrible diplomatic move by the Soviets, while the United States emerged from the confrontation ...read more