McDonald’s Is Scaling Back Ronald McDonald Appearances Due to Creepy Clown Sightings

Brand is sensitive to 'current climate'

Headshot of Christine Birkner

Creepy clowns are terrorizing the nation, forcing perhaps the most famous clown mascot of all into temporary hiding. Tuesday, McDonald's announced that it would cut back on Ronald McDonald's appearances at events due to the creepy clown craze.

Since August, people wearing clown masks, some carrying knives, have been spotted around the country. Often, these sightings occur around schools or in retail locations, and the phenomenon has spread around the globe, with clown sightings over the last month in the U.K., Australia and Canada.

As a result, Ronald McDonald, who has been the brand's mascot since 1963, is laying low for now. In 2014, McDonald's gave the clown a makeover (perhaps in an attempt to make him appear less creepy?), decking him out in duds by theater designer Ann Hould-Ward.

McDonald's did not respond to Adweek's request for comment, but in a statement, the company told the AP it was "thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events" as a result of the "current climate around clown sightings in communities." 

@ChristineBirkne Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.