Okay, this is really getting out of hand. It comes to something when one of the most famous clowns on the planet is forced into hiding.

Ronald McDonald is cutting back on his public appearances because bosses at McDonald's say they’re ‘mindful’ of the impact that the creepy clown craze is having.

It’s not surprising that PR chiefs at the global company frankly don’t want to get their clown muddled up with scary clowns. It is no laughing matter, to coin a phrase. Good old Ronald has been the face of McDonald’s for decades. So, you don’t really want people to become terrified of all clowns.

Of course, some might wonder if there’s a risk in itself of being so closely associated with something as generic as a clown in the first place.

As reported by the BBC, here’s what the statement from the company said: ‘McDonald's and franchisees in local markets are mindful of the current climate around clown sightings in communities and as such are being thoughtful with respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events for the time being.’

Then, there’s the police who have also been caught up in the craze and have had to amend their PR strategies and resources accordingly. Press officers have been busy dealing with media enquiries and issuing warnings via social media.

Spare a moment for professional clowns as well who say the craze, well, just isn’t funny. UK-based Clowns International told The Guardian that creepy clowns were trying to hijack a costume and scare people. Just think about the good work they do cheering up kids in hospitals.

(The image shows the detail is of the famously popular actor Joseph Grimaldi as the clown in a 19th century pantomime. Photo credit: By George Cruikshank - http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/people-pages/grimaldi-the-clown/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21945556)