McDonald's 'mindful' of Ronald after creepy clown scares

PHOENIX — Ronald McDonald will be taking a slight hiatus in the wake of creepy clown sightings across the United States, according to the company.

In a statement to The Arizona Republic, McDonald's Corp. stated they "are mindful of the current climate around clown sightings in communities," adding that the company is "being thoughtful with respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events for the time being."

The smiling company mascot is one of the most recognizable figures in all of popular culture. The character debuted in a 1963 TV ad in Washington, D.C., and was originally played by TV personality Willard Scott. Over the years, McDonald's has faced criticism for marketing directly to children, notably through Happy Meals, toys and Ronald McDonald.

The company's shelving of Ronald follows an uptick in clown-related police calls across the nation. At least 13 states — Wisconsin, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee and Colorado — have had reports of various incidents involving clowns. Phoenix-area police have arrested an adult and three juveniles and announced others were under investigation for threats made against schools in Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale and Tolleson.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office also released a statement over the weekend related to an incident in which three people dressed as clowns chased teenagers while wielding baseball bats at a park in Fountain Hills.


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