Should Ronald McDonald Retire?

Suzanne Murray
9

ronald mcdonald
Flickr photo by clayirving
Joe Camel has retired, and so has the Marlboro Man. Now, the advocacy group Corporate Accountability International is calling for Ronald McDonald's retirement.

The group says that Ronald has been "hooking kids on unhealthy food, spurring an epidemic of diet-related disease like type 2 diabetes," for more than 50 years, and says it's time for the redheaded clown to go.

“Whether it’s the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity or individual middle-America moms, there is a growing conviction that retiring Ronald -- and the wide range of predatory marketing his success has spawned -- is an essential part of the public health solution to today’s crisis,"  said Deborah Lapidus, senior organizer with Corporate Accountability International.

McDonald's Corp.'s CEO Jim Skinner disagrees, and says the company has no plans to retire Ronald. "He is a force for good," Skinner said at the company's annual shareholders' meeting in Chicago, noting that the clown is an ambassador for the McDonald's brand and its Ronald McDonald House Charities.

At the meeting, Skinner also refuted a doctor's claims that Ronald McDonald is a "Pied Piper" who leads children to dangerous eating habits. A school nurse also spoke, bemoaning the number of students she sees with diet-related illnesses.

"We're committed to responsible marketing," Skinner told her, and said that the fast food chain has tried to emphasize "choice and variety" in its menu offerings.

So it looks like Ronald is here to stay, at least for now.

(If you want to join the campaign against him, you can learn more at Retire Ronald.)

Does your toddler know who Ronald McDonald is? Do you think he should retire?

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