Despite the recent fervor over creepy clown sightings, hasn’t the general consensus for years been that clowns are creepy? Serial killer John Wayne Gacy performed as a clown (and painted pictures of them). The evil eponymous character in Stephen King’s best-selling novel It took the form of a clown. And then of course there’s the Insane Clown Posse with their frightening level of commercial success. Despite all this, Ronald McDonald – the leading man of the McDonaldland gang – has always gotten a bit of a pass, maybe because we feel inherently sorry for a dude whose best friends are a giant purple blob and a mayor with a cheeseburger for a head.
But even though Ronald has spent decades separating himself from his creepy clown counterparts, McDonald’s has decided that now is not the time to be sending out its makeup-covered mascot for any additional appearances. According to the AP, the burger chain has announced it will be “thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events” as a result of the “current climate around clown sightings in communities.” It’s nice that McDonald’s is thinking about the community, but doesn’t such a public proclamation potentially increase the risk of Hamburglar-related incidents?
Still, jokes aside, limiting Ronald McDonald appearances probably won’t have any effect on the spate of creepy clown sightings either way. Ronald McDonald is a pretty distinct clown. If he’s posing for photos in front of a fast food restaurant, you probably don’t have to worry. On the other hand, if a clown is trying to lure you into the woods with French fries, you’re probably not going to be like, “Oh, it’s Ronald. And here I was thinking this could be a bad situation.”
That said, anytime we get fewer clowns on the streets – fast food mascots or otherwise – it’s probably for the best. Now if only we can get Burger King to dump their even creepier The Burger King mascot again. Then we’ll be making some serious strides.