KREFELD, GERMANY - OCTOBER 23: Ronald McDonald attends the reopening celebration of McDonald's restaurant on October 23, 2019 in Krefeld, Germany. (Photo by Joshua Sammer/Getty Images)
Whatever Happened To Ronald McDonald?
By Stacie Adams
Ronald McDonald, McDonald’s so-called "Chief Happiness Officer," has been lying low as of late, and speculation is rampant regarding precisely what happened to this jolly fellow. The once ubiquitous fixture in commercials has much less of a presence these days, and the reasons are as complex as the necromancy needed to bring McDonald's ice cream machine back to life.
In 2016, according to People, there were spates of creepy "clown sightings" all over the U.S. and elsewhere, but it turns out that they were mostly just harmless pranks. In a statement released to the press, a spokeswoman for McDonald's highlighted "the current climate around clown sightings in communities" and thought it best for Ronald to take a backseat.
The 2004 documentary "Super Size Me" called attention to the nutritional deficits of McDonald's, and concerns were raised regarding Ronald's effect on children's eating habits, with Corporate Accountability International launching a campaign against the mascot. While McDonald's brass downplayed these concerns and claimed they had no intention of retiring Ronald, creepy clown scares accomplished what advocacy groups could not.