Posters featuring a scary clown used to promote a Halloween event have been taken down following complaints they were upsetting kids.
Around 12 of the posters - which show a sinister clown with an evil stare with the caption ‘screaming won’t help’ - have been removed from sites near schools in Norfolk.
The adverts - promoting PrimEVIL which is billed as ‘Norfolk’s Biggest Halloween Experience’ - are now being investigated by Advertising Standards Authority.
It says it has received more than 20 complaints.
Martin Goymour, owner of Goymour Properties who run the PrimEVIL night said they removed 12 posters from around schools after receiving complaints.
Mr Goymour said: “It’s difficult, you want to promote a Halloween event to an adult audience, we didn’t use any blood or gory images and we didn’t go out to try and offend people.
“As far as I was told the picture is a clown mask, it’s no worse than the Joker from Batman or something you’d see on Doctor Who.”
A spokesman for the Advertising Standards Authority confirmed an investigation was launched into the posters in Norwich after they received 21 separate complaints
He added: “The main complaint was the advert is inappropriate for untargeted advertising and outdoor display because it is distressing for children and likely to cause distress.”
The spokesman also said if the investigation finds the posters contravene advertising rules then they would be swiftly removed.
Sally Beadle, who performs as a Crazy Bananas the clown at children’s parties in Norwich, has criticised the posters as irresponsible.
She said: “I really wish people wouldn’t do this sort of thing.
“We’re trying to tell people to trusts us and that we’re going to look after their kids and give them a good time then you get posters like this.
“I don’t think it gives an accurate view of clowns at all. It sounds a bit daft but if you grow up with a fear of clowns it can affect you in all sorts of ways.
“There was a lady that works at the petrol station who had to run out of work because I went in dressed in my clown gear.”
Coulrophobia, a term used for the specific fear of clowns, is one of the ten most common phobias in the world.
Celebrity sufferers include Daniel Radcliffe, Johnny Depp and rapper P Diddy, who once demanded a no clowns clause in his contract.