May 19, 2011 1:12 PM by AP Posted by James H Egbert
McDonald's Corp. CEO Jim Skinner came out swinging Thursday when asked about Ronald McDonald and whether the burger chain hooks children with junk food.
Skinner, speaking at the annual meeting at McDonald's headquarters outside Chicago, said that newspapers ads Wednesday calling for Ronald's retirement had prompted an outpouring of support to his office, with parents and customers asking Skinner "to defend their right to choose."
A group called Corporate Accountability International paid for the ads. They say Ronald is encouraging unhealthy eating habits and contributing to childhood obesity and diseases such as diabetes.
When Deborah Lapidus, an organizer with the activist group, said McDonald's is interfering with political efforts to curb marketing unhealthy food to children, Skinner replied that "this is about choice."
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)