Oakbrook, IL McDonald’s has issued a statement confirming the reason for scrubbing Ronald McDonald from their website and his merchandise from their online store the longtime franchise mascot is no longer under contract with the company:
“McDonald’s is committed to providing a fear free, family friendly environment. Due to the current ‘creepy clown epidemic’ sweeping the country, McDonald’s has terminated its contract with longtime mascot, Ronald McDonald. We wish Ronald the best in all future endeavors.”
For McDonald’s, this is truly an end of an era. Ronald McDonald has been under contract with the popular fast food chain since the early 1960’s, back when Bozo the Clown was still widely popular with children. Ronald has starred in thousands of commercials for the burger giant, appeared on hundreds of children’s television shows, made countless hospital visits for sick children and was a regular at McDonalds’ corporate events.
This so-called “creepy clown epidemic” has spread across the U.S. into more than 20 states and parts of Canada, leading to arrests, school warnings, and police investigations.
The first American ‘creepy clown sighting’ ended up being a marketing ploy for a short film. ‘Gags the Green Bay Clown‘ was seen wandering the streets of Green Bay, WI, carrying a host of black balloons and scaring many in the community until a disgruntled actor explained it was all part of a marketing stunt.
Then in August an anonymous caller in Greenville, SC, said that they’d seen creepy looking clowns in the woods trying to lure in children, setting off a mass clown panic. Since then, reports of sightings and terrorist threats, usually targeted at kids and teenagers, has resulted in a widespread fear of clowns.
For Chester Langly, who has worked as a professional clown for 32 years, the news has been heartbreaking. The 62-year-old from Milwaukee, WI, who performs under the name Flashy the Clown, got into the clowning business out of a love for children and to simply put smiles on people’s faces.
“[Being a clown] gives me such a warm feeling,” Langly told Gish Gallop. “To make people, especially little kids, smile is everything to me. It’s what keeps me clownin’ all these years.”
Flashy isn’t laughing about the spate of creepy clown sightings and is worried they could be bad for professional clowns everywhere. “Look what’s happened to Ronald McDonald. If that guy loses his gig how are we supposed to find any job security?”
All calls to Ronald McDonald’s publicist have not been returned as of press time.