decided last week to winnow down its assortment of clown masks
and costumes available for sale in U.S. stores and online "given
the current environment," company spokesman Joshua Thomas said
Although Target received some isolated consumer comments about
scary clown accessories, the decision to pull some masks from
inventories stemmed from "a conversation internally about how we
can respond to the situation at hand," Thomas told Reuters.
The clown-mask culling, limited to one in-store product item and
about 10 different selections online, affected a "very tiny"
portion of Target's overall Halloween merchandise, Thomas added.
Target declined to specify exactly which products were pulled
but said those kept in stock reflected a more traditional, less
threatening image of happy, cheerful clowns.
Similarly, McDonald's <MCD.N> and its franchise owners have cut
back in the number of public appearances being made by
performers dressed up as the chain's trademark hamburger-happy
clown Ronald McDonald during the past two weeks, according to
The fast-food chain, in a statement, cited "the current climate
around clown sightings in communities" for its decision.
Reports of menacing individuals dressed as clowns or wearing
clown masks began surfacing in late August around Greenville,
South Carolina, and have since spread to several other states,
perplexing police and unnerving parents across the country.
Clowns have been reported spotted lurking near wooded areas or
on dark roads, and even driving in cars, some brandishing knives
or waving wads of money at children. The phenomenon has created
a stir on social media, with the hashtag #IfISeeAClown and
@ClownSightings generating a large following on Twitter.
(Additional reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing
by Cynthia Osterman)
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