Thirty years after Stephen King published his best-selling novel It, one scene continues to stick out to many readers as horrific, even though it wasn’t intended that way: a group sex scene between children. In the original novel, the group of kids — known as the Losers’ Club — have defeated the manifestation of their nightmares they call “It” (a.k.a. that evil clown). But they get lost in the sewer tunnels after the showdown and start to panic. The sole girl of the group, Beverly Marsh, tells her male friends that the only way for them to get out of the tunnels is … to have sex with her. What follows is an extended description of Beverly encouraging and having sex with each of the boys. It is, technically speaking, a gang bang featuring children.
The scene still attracts controversy, and both of the onscreen adaptations — including the one in theaters now — have ignored it entirely. If you Google King’s statement on it, you’ll come upon a quote traced back to a forum on Stephenking.com from November 2013 that reads:
I wasn’t really thinking of the sexual aspect of it. The book dealt with childhood and adulthood –1958 and Grown Ups. The grown ups don’t remember their childhood. None of us remember what we did as children–we think we do, but we don’t remember it as it really happened. Intuitively, the Losers knew they had to be together again. The sexual act connected childhood and adulthood. It’s another version of the glass tunnel that connects the children’s library and the adult library. Times have changed since I wrote that scene and there is now more sensitivity to those issues.
Vulture reached out to King’s agent for confirmation on the statement, and he responded, “That sounds like my statement.” He added: “To it I’d just add that it’s fascinating to me that there has been so much comment about that single sex scene and so little about the multiple child murders. That must mean something, but I’m not sure what.”
America, we have just been read by Stephen King.