A company in Singapore is responding to backlash after reports that a clown employed by the company was loitering outside primary schools earlier this week.
According to a statement from Speech Academy Asia, the company’s promoter — who was dressed like a clown — was handing out flyers for the company’s speech classes outside of primary schools last week.
However, the promoter was apparently misunderstood, because, according to the company’s statement, police were called about “an individual donning a costume” who was standing outside the gates of a primary school.
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The police warned the school, who went on to warn parents, the statement said. Those warnings were then posted on social media, even garnering the attention of Singapore politician Tan Chuan-Jin, who posted a picture of one of the supposed promoters on his Facebook page.
“Whoever is doing what I assume to be some viral marketing nonsense, stop it!” he wrote. “People dressed as clowns have been seen loitering around primary schools asking students to follow them. Please remind your children, DO NOT follow them and to report to the police.”
He added: “I trust the Police are investigating this. It’s not amusing and just plain dangerous.”
Fox News reached out to the Singapore Police Force for a comment on the matter but did not immediately hear back.
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In a statement provided to The Straits Times, police said they had received several reports of people dressed as clowns approaching children outside primary schools.
A spokesperson told the outlet: “Members of the public are advised to stay away from strangers and to report any suspicious persons or activities to the police.”
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According to a Monday Facebook post by Speech Academy Asia, some reports were claiming that the clown was offering money to children or asking them to come with the clowns.
The company refuted those claims and apologized for “the cause of concern over the safety of your children.”
“We would like to clarify that, although indeed, the promoter is an employee of Speech Academy Asia, our team do not offer any form of monetary rewards for children to follow them,” Speech Academy Asia wrote. “Additionally, our promoters strictly do not take any children out of the vicinity.”
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The company released an additional statement on Tuesday, explaining in more detail how the miscommunication came about and further clarifying that it was not meant to be a publicity stunt or cause concern among parents and children.
“Our sole intention for this initiative is to spread positivity and awareness on the importance of communication and leadership skills to children and parents,” Speech Academy Asia wrote in its Tuesday statement. “This is not a publicity stunt, and it is definitely not our intention to incite fear.”
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“Our outreach initiative has been ongoing for years and the various costumes have brought many joys to children and adults prior to this news,” the company added.
Speech Academy Asia did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for additional comment.