Ronald McDonald
Credit: Everett Collection

Ronald McDonald is the most terrifying inhuman creature on the face of the earth. A tall clown with hellfire-red hair who enjoys hanging out with children when their parents aren’t looking, Ronald has terrorized young people across the world for nearly five decades. Apparently, there was a time when Ronald’s shenanigans were actually somewhat amusing. Perhaps that was before he started wearing a bright yellow jumpsuit, which makes him look like a psychotic hermit on his way to mopping up a bloody crime scene. God, just look at the above picture! It’s like you can read his thoughts, and his thoughts are “I’m going to enjoy eating your brains, sonny! Yuk Yuk Yuk!”

But thanks to the rising wave of fast food activism — and the simultaneous evolution of cross-cultural coulrophobia — Ronald’s reign of terror might be coming to an end. As reported by the Associated Press, a study by Ace Metrix (a group that studies TV advertising) found that a majority of people don’t respond so well to Ronald’s horrible existence, noting that the word “creepy” came up rather often. In an intriguing twist, a group called Corporate Accountability International thinks Ronald is a little too attractive — they don’t want such a nominally “lovable” character to hawk junk food to America’s children. Now, maybe it’s just me, but nothing could turn me off McDonald’s faster than having a madman covered in mascara shove Chicken McNuggets into my face while squealing, “Hey kids, heehee! Be sure to play sports, heehee!”

Thanks to the Ace Metrix study, I know I’m not the only one with Ronald McDonald nightmares. But I’m interested, PopWatchers: Why, exactly, are we all so scared of the red-haired fast food clown? Tell us in the poll below!

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