Clown Question

Last April, Anthony Bourdain shared with New York magazine’s Grub Street his view of the Golden Arches:

I’ve told my child that McDonald’s is bad and causes horrifying health effects that are likely to make her unhealthy, physically unattractive, and marginalized at school. Scaring the hell out of a kid isn’t so hard, and I think it’s for a good cause. Ronald McDonald is a bad guy in our house. He’s not a friendly clown.

No doubt Don Thompson strongly disagrees. The CEO of McDonald’s recently convened a shareholders’ meeting and insists the clown spokesman is benign. According to the Wall Street Journal,

Several speakers at the meeting were associated with Corporate Accountability International, a nonprofit corporate watchdog that put forward a proposal calling on McDonald’s to conduct an assessment of its nutrition initiatives. They accused the company of contributing to the country’s obesity problem by targeting children, particularly minorities.

Mr. Thompson, McDonald’s first African-American chief executive, said the criticism hits close to home and staunchly defended the company’s marketing practices.

“We are not the cause of obesity. Ronald is not a bad guy,” Mr. Thompson said. “He’s about fun. He’s a clown. I’d urge you all to let your kids have fun, too.”

Ronald is also not part of an insane clown posse.

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