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Russian Burger King Calls for ‘IT’ Ban Over Pennywise’s Resemblance to Ronald McDonald

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

I know we’ve still got two days on the clock, but best of luck to the rest of this week in producing an entertainment news story stranger or more amusing than this one:

Over in Russia, where everything is normal and fine, there’s been some pushback against the theatrical release of the new adaptation of Stephen King’s IT. Not from the public — they’ve been pretty taken with the well-reviewed new film, delivering a $14 million payday in its three weeks of screenings. But the Russian arm of popular fast food chain Burger King has cried foul, and the reason why is not what you’d expect.

An item from TheWrap states that Burger King Russia has filed a complaint with the Federal Antimonopoly Service moving for IT to be pulled from theaters nationwide due to a resemblance between villain Pennywise and clown brethren Ronald McDonald. Perhaps, like me, you read the previous sentence and your early-morning brain presumed that the burger chain is worried about a negative association between their products and a homicidal clown subsisting on the fear of children. If so, then you probably also realized after a moment’s thought that Ronald McDonald isn’t affiliated with Burger King, so then what gives?

It’s quite the opposite situation, in actuality — Burger King Russia has posited that the resemblance between the McDonald’s mascot and King’s shapeshifting terror-demon counts as unfair promotion for their main competitor. Noting a similarity in the coloration and presence of balloons, Burger King’s legal counsel has asserted that covert advertising of this nature violates the strictures ruling where commercials can and cannot be hidden. Ah, Russia: where the razor-toothed mutant Pagliacci luring children into the bowels of the city so he can absorb their life force leaving their bodies as desiccated husks counts as good PR.

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