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McDonald's CEO Says Company's Mascot 'Is Going Nowhere'

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(OAK BROOK, Ill.) -- The head of McDonald's responded to charges Thursday that the fast food chain's mascot gets kids hooked on junk food.

After 48 years of pitching burgers, health care professionals have charged that Ronald McDonald is encouraging unhealthy eating habits.

A day after an activist group put out an ad calling for the clown to be retired, the company's CEO, Jim Skinner, declared, "Ronald McDonald is going nowhere." 

Speaking at the company's annual shareholder meeting, Skinner said there's been an outpouring of support from parents and customers asking him to "defend their right to choose."

Shareholders also rejected a proposal for McDonald's to come out with a report showing how the company's practices factors into childhood obesity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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