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
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.