Do you think Ronald McDonald is creepy? Same here. All clowns are creepy. Just don't try telling that to McDonald's executives, who say he is "a force for good" in this cruel, cruel world.

This defense of the McDonald's mascot stems from a group called Corporate Accountability International calling for his retirement. The group is running ads today that say, among other things, "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." But Marlena Peleo-Lazar, chief creative officer at McDonald's, bristles at this "totally unfounded" smear.

Another problem Ronald is facing is the image of being some sort of gross old clown. Jack McKee, a VP at Ace Metrix, told the AP of his company's survey results that polled responses to a new Ronald McDonald ad campaign: "It's really remarkable how often I saw the word 'creepy.'" Big surprise! Ronald McDonald is creepy and McDonald's is gross. Then again, we are talking about a company that peddles toxic "food" to children. But for now, at least, McDonald's is sticking by its man.

[AP; image via Getty]