Although McDonald’s has repeatedly insisted that the company’s red-headed mascot is not about to suffer the same fate as the Frito Bandito, activists that say the clown encourages childhood obesity continue to call for his ouster.
At the company’s annual meeting last week, CEO Jim Skinner defended Ronald against the charges, declaring him an “ambassador for good.”
The latest salvo in the food fight was fired last week, when the activist group Corporate Accountability International published a letter to the CEO signed by doctors and health-care groups, which declared:
We know the contributors to today’s epidemic are manifold and a broad societal response is required. But marketing can no longer be ignored as a significant part of this massive problem.
We ask that you heed our concern and retire your marketing promotions for food
high in salt, fat, sugar, and calories to children, whatever form they take – from
Ronald McDonald to toy giveaways.
At the company’s annual meeting, however, Skinner was unequivocal:
Ronald McDonald is an ambassador to McDonald’s and he is an ambassador for good. Ronald McDonald is going nowhere. … This is about choice and we believe in the democratic process. This is about the personal and individual right to choose.
Skinner’s remarks were met by cheers from shareholders. We have not been able to confirm rumors that a resolution was tabled proposing that Ronald be replaced by Grimace.