Entertainment

Ronald McDonald ordered to keep a lower profile amid creepy clown outbreak

McDonald's Corp. says Ronald McDonald is keeping a low profile while reports of creepy clown sightings are on the rise.

Eerie clown sightings on the rise across North America

Ronald McDonald is lying low in McDonaldland to avoid any confusion about him being a creepy clown. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

McDonald's Corp. says Ronald McDonald is keeping a low profile while reports of creepy clown sightings are on the rise.

The fast food giant said Tuesday that it is being "thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events" as a result of the "current climate around clown sightings in communities."

The company did not provide any other details about how often its red-haired mascot makes appearances, and how that will change.

The burger chain's decision comes after a rash of pranks around Canada and the U.S. that have involved eerie clown sightings. The reports have prompted police in some areas to respond.

Makeovers and marketing

It won't be the first time the McDonald's red-haired clown has faced controversy since his first appearance in 1963.

Ronald's kid-friendly demeanour, flanked by other cartoon characters such as Grimace and the Hamburglar, have come under fire over the years for promoting an unhealthy diet for young children.

As the chain has struggled to adapt to changing fast food trends, including adding healthy options like kale to the menu, Ronald has followed suit — including a 2014 makeover that replaced his trademark yellow jump suit with a vaguely hipster-like outfit that included a vest, cargo pants and a red jacket.

Meanwhile, most of his McDonaldland neighbours have faded into the McDonald's marketing periphery, other than an ill-received attempt to transform the Hamburglar into a scruffy yet attractive dad in 2015.

With files from CBC News

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.