Horrifying reason you don't see Ronald McDonald anymore

Man calls for help at McDonald's drive-thru in Azusa after being shot

You may remember a time when McDonald's clown mascot Ronald McDonald was an ubiquitous presence at the chain.

As recently as 2014, McDonald's was tinkering with his outfits, and planning a big social media and commercial rollout of his new look.

But he's barely been seen since the mid-2010s - so what's up?

Well, it may all be due to a horrifying trend which picked up in 2016, with when sightings of unsettling clowns in the US started making the rounds on social media.

One of the earliest reported sightings was of an eerie clown standing in the street holding black balloons in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which turned out to be a marketing effort to promote the film Gags produced by Adam Krause.

According to The Guardian, the sightings were suspected to be a PR stunt for the upcoming release of a new movie for Stephen King's 1986 horror novel It, featuring the infamously creepy clown called Pennywise.

This prompted other people to dress up in clown attire, terrorizing people and sometimes attacking them.

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Fox News reported that a Pennsylvania teen was reportedly stabbed to death during a fight that broke out after someone appeared with a clown mask.

The clown debacle also made its way to the UK, with The Independent reporting that many people in clown clothes chased a boy "younger than a teenager" in Suffolk.

During this time, McDonald's released a statement to CNBC about their decision to ditch their famous mascot, noting that they were being "mindful" of the situations occurring and would cease "Ronald McDonald's participation in community events for the time being."

And the UK McDonald's also made a statement noting that the clown won't appear in their advertising but is "still very busy working for us."

Ronald McDonald can still be seen in some restaurants in places around the world, although he is mostly nowhere to be seen.

American weather presenter and actor Willard Scott was the original portrayer of Ronald McDonald from 1963 to the early 1970s.

Sadly, he passed away in 2021, aged 87.

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