Ronald McDonald has discovered that it is not a good time to be a happy-go-lucky clown, as it was announced that the chuckling mascot of the McDonald's brand is taking a break until further notice, or when "Clownageddon" shows signs of dying down.
With the US gripped by both real and imagined menacing clown sightings, the flame-haired, giant-shoed funny man has been placed on restricted duty by the company.
"McDonald's and franchisees in the local markets are mindful of the current climate around clown sightings, and, as such, are being thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events for the time being," said spokeswoman Terri Hickey in a statement.
It's unclear how long Ronald's hiatus will be – and how long the creepy clown sightings will continue.
Several states continue to report a rising number of menacing clown sightings – some real, some imagined and some deliberately invented. Online threats aimed at schools have also been posted by purported clowns.
The craze that began in the US has now spread to parts of the UK as reports of clown sightings increased across the country in a matter of weeks.
Sadly, the good clowns are not laughing. They are demanding a crackdown on the bozo spoilers. Even horror master Stephen King, creator of the creepiest clown Pennywise in his novel "It", has pleaded with the public to stop with the clown hysteria.
"A genuine clown would not run up to somebody and make them jump and frighten them," said Andrew Davis of the World Clown Association. In 2014, the Rasmussen polling firm found that 43% of Americans do not like clowns.
In 2015, a Chapman University Survey found that clowns caused significant anxiety for 6.8% of Americans.