McDonald’s is hiding its famous mascot, Ronald McDonald, in the midst of a wave of scary clown sightings across the US.
The company said Tuesday that it’s “mindful” of the clown sightings and it’s paring back Ronald McDonald’s public appearances as a result.
“McDonald’s and franchisees in the local markets are mindful of the current climate around clown sightings in communities and as such are being thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald’s participation in community events for the time being,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Terri Hickey told Business Insider.
Ronald McDonald — with his clown-like face paint, red wig, and yellow jumpsuit — has long been the face of McDonald’s.
But with a recent rash of disturbing clown sightings across the country, Ronald McDonald’s appropriateness at public events is suddenly being called into question, as the Associated Press first reported.
The creepy sightings began in Greenville, South Carolina, in August, when several children told authorities that a group of clowns offered them money to follow them into the woods. The suspects were never found.
Since then, there have been hundreds of reports of strange clown sightings, some of which have turned violent.
A mother in San Francisco last week claimed she fought off someone dressed as a clown who tried to grab her daughter. In a separate incident last week in New York City, someone dressed as a clown and wielding a knife threatened subway riders and chased a teenage boy off a train.