The Associated Press reports that McDonald's restaurants are to lay off using mascot Ronald McDonald for a while, until the current phase of "creepy clown" sightings fades.
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The burger chain 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 or whether that will change.
McDonald's decision comes after a rash of pranks and threats nationwide and abroad that have involved eerie clowns. The trend began this summer with unconfirmed reports in South Carolina. Since then, reports have involved costumed hoaxsters frightening people on the street or people terrorizing others via social media.
Kentucky police have arrested a man dressed as a clown lurking in a wooded area amid a wave of clown reports in at least six US states.
Jonathan Martin, 20, was charged with wearing a mask in a public place and disorderly conduct in Middlesboro.
He was found at about 0100 EST (0600 GMT) on Friday in "full clown costume" and mask crouching among trees by an apartment complex, according to police.
"Wearing a mask" is a crime, eh? Read the rest
Last week, freaky photos appeared online of a strange person dressed in a filthy clown costume and carrying black balloons wandering the night streets of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Turns out, "Gags the Clown," as the character was known, turned out to be a hoax by indie filmmaker Adam Krause. He hoped the online freak-out would help market a new short horror film that he plans to complete in the next few months. It worked. From the Green Bay Press-Gazette:
Krause and his film crew had wanted to keep Gags' secret for a little longer and include four more Gags sightings in Green Bay to promote the film. However, according to Krause's post, some actors who did not get parts in the film "felt it was their civic duty to inform the media of what was really going on."
Driving past a Chicago cemetery at night, Julia Graham and her husband were "freaked out" when they noticed a clown who climbed the 7-foot gate and "waved slowly" at them as they took photos.
"I mean, this was somebody putting forth a lot of effort — and being really weird,” Graham told CBS Chicago.
TV news report below:
Coulrophobics were unable to convince England's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to ban a movie poster with a sinister-looking clown. Read the rest
From 1995 to 2007, Joe Maggard was Ronald McDonald. "The clown is right in there. The clown is ready to go." Read the rest
Tonopoah, NV's Clown Motel is a relic of the Gold Rush town's faded glory years, and it is filled with clowns. Hundreds of clowns stare from every corner, the walls are hung with clown-portraits, and there is a "historic miners' cemetery" out the motel's back door, wherein rest the mouldering corpses of the victims of a mysterious epidemic that is only known as "Tonopah plague." Redditors who've stayed at the Clown Motel have taken to this thread to one-up one-another with tales of the establishment's freaky weirdness. Norwegiancoconut dropped a link to this gallery of photos from a previous stay.
Our friends at Futility Closet (hosts of Boing Boing's wonderful Futility Closet podcast) have a short item about The Clown Egg Register. Apparently, a clown's face can't be copyrighted, but if you decorate an egg with the clown's face, you can copyright that, which stops unscrupulous clowns in their tracks. Read the rest
This is Colin Smith, a con artist clown who was busted for posing as a charity collector. Apparently, there were nearly 20 unrelated police incidents last year in Manchester, England involving clowns reportedly engaged in creepy behavior like following children to school, vandalizing property, or robbery.
“The clowning profession can do without stupid people who don’t understand the profession and appreciate that it is a performing art and not a spontaneous jolly jape," Dave Tawney, European director of the World Clown Association, told the Manchester Evening News. Read the rest
The Northampton Clown -- AKA Alex Powell -- made headlines for a series of creepy selfies taken around the English city of Northampton. Now, his notoriety has sparked a nationwide trend of copycat clown-pranksters who make mischief such as rapping on peoples' windows while brandishing weapons. England's clowns are furious. Read the rest
I blogged the GOP clown college (WMxdesign's Flickr set of Republican politicians, leaders, and mouthpieces in clown makeup), but it's worth revisiting today, given all the shenanigans. Read the rest
Photos of the sinister figure at the National Lift Tower, posing on Elm Street, next to a town statue and in a lake have been posted on Facebook and attracted more than 180,000 likes from all over the world. He often teases fans about where he will turn up next by posting clues hidden in riddles on his Facebook page. He told a local paper anonymously: “I just want to amuse people. Most people enjoy being a bit freaked out, then they laugh about it afterwards.”
Yes, he is local. Read the rest