The king of clowns, Ronald McDonald, has felt the sting of the bad clown-related press in recent weeks. McDonald's has officially cut back on their mascot's appearances because – you know – everyone hates clowns now.
Now, if you weren't aware, a terrifying clown prank is making its way across the world. (That's probably the weirdest sentence I've written as a journalist since "Donald Trump is the Republican candidate for president.")
It's hard to say who started it, but it's apparently contagious. Clown sightings are happening all over.
In fact, here is an interactive map of all the clown sightings in America and the UK. It's funny in theory, but some of these pranksters are taking things way too far. They're stalking schools and, um, stabbing people in the hand.
Because of this, Ronald McDonald has cut down on his appearances. Apparently, clowns terrorizing everyone isn't good for the "clowns who sell burgers" market.
An official statement read as follows:
McDonald's and franchisees in local markets are mindful of the current climate around clown sightings in communities, and as such, are being thoughtful with respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events for the time being.
This story comes to us from BBC, who described Ronald McDonald thusly:
Ronald McDonald, a pasty-faced, scarlet-wigged clown with an expression of permanent surprise, has been a global icon for the franchise for decades.
Yeah, way to make him sound even more terrifying, BBC.
The clown thing has taken a turn for the ugly since its inception in August.
A man in Lancashire literally got his hand sliced open by a clown holding a 10-inch blade while he was at an ATM.
The man is now permanently disabled. He will have to quit his job as a woodworker.
It's an extremely sad story, and it just goes to show how semi-lighthearted pranks can balloon – no pun intended – when fueled by social media.
Oh, and by the way, Halloween is only a couple of weeks away. Get ready for Clowngeddon.