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Creepy Clown Craze Claims New Victim: Ronald McDonald

McDonald's Is Sidelining Its Biggest Mascot Amid Creepy Clown Sightings 1:20

Mayor McCheese is keeping Ronald McDonald under wraps.

With the nation thoroughly spooked by both real and fake sightings of "creepy" clowns, McDonald's has decided to limit the public appearances of their signature red-haired, floppy-shoed figurehead, the fast-food giant revealed Tuesday.

"McDonald's and franchisees in the local markets are mindful of the current climate around clown sightings in communities and as such are being thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events for the time being," spokeswoman Terri Hickey said in an emailed statement.

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The move comes amid a spate of sinister clown sightings that have freaked out Americans coast-to-coast and hit real clowns in the wallet.

Related: Creepy Bozos Haunting Woods Are Making Life Hard for Real Clowns

Americans are about as divided about clowns as they are about politics (coincidence?).

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The Rasmussen polling firm reported in 2014 that 43 percent of Americans "don't like" clowns. And last year, the annual Chapman University Survey of American Fears found that clowns were a cause of significant anxiety for 6.8 percent of Americans.

Ronald McDonald
McDonald's mascot Ronald McDonald walks on the field before a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park, Saturday, July 5, 2014, in Washington. The Cubs won 7-2. Alex Brandon / AP