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US: 'Creepy clown sightings' force iconic McDonald's mascot to step back

The red-haired clown has helped promote the company for decades, and has become the namesake for a series of animated videos produced for the chain and a charity that helps sick children and their families. (Wikipedia) Photograph: (Others)

New Delhi, India Oct 12, 2016, 12.11 AM (IST)

A creepy clown craze is spreading in the US, sending authorities in a frenzy. 

Instances of strangers dressed up as clowns, trying to lure children with candies and cash, have been reported in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia in recent weeks.

While these sightings have rattled residents, their latest victim is the Mcdonald's mascot Ronald McDonald, the red-haired clown.

McDonald's Corporation on Tuesday announced that it's iconic mascot, Ronald McDonald, will temporarily refrain from making any public appearances due to "the current climate around clown sightings.", media reports said.  

The mascot has helped promote the fast food chain for decades and takes part in many of its community events.

The company said it is "being thoughtful with respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events for the time being" after a series of reports of people dressed in clown outfits have startled local communities in multiple states, Reuters reported.

While most cases of "clown sightings” have not been substantiated,the incidents have prompted increased patrols.

Police in Menasha, Wisconsin, investigated two men dressed in clown costumes who were reportedly chasing vehicles during the early morning hours. Officers didn't file any charges on that complaint, Reuters reported.

The sightings in the US have reportedly sparked ‘copy-cat’ acts in Australia and New Zealand, with police issuing  warnings for “would-be clowns”. 

Numerous sightings of clowns have appeared on social media in several Australian cities, with one woman in Brisbane telling local media she was chased by a clown holding a knife, Reuters reported.


(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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