Ronald McDonald is here to stay
McDonald's executives have no plans to say goodbye to their long-time mascot.
Ronald McDonald is staying, McDonald's (MCD) executives said Thursday, sending a clear message to critics who say that the red-haired mascot manipulates children into unhealthy eating.
"He is a force for good," chief executive Jim Skinner told shareholders. "He communicates effectively with children and families around balanced, active lifestyles. He does not hawk food."
The audience applauded his comments at the annual shareholders' meeting outside of Chicago, according to the Associated Press.
Skinner was responding to growing calls for Ronald McDonald to retire. An advocacy group called Corporate Accountability International has been pushing for Ronald to join Marlboro Man and Joe Camel in the mascot graveyard.
"Ronald McDonald is a pied piper drawing youngsters all over the world to food that is high in fat, sodium and calories," a retired physician with the group told the AP. He added that the clown is dangerous and sends insidious messages to young people.
Ronald isn't the only McDonald's product under attack. The fast-food giant has also taken heat for including toys in its Happy Meals. One county in Northern California even went so far as to ban the toys.
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