Earlier this month, Charles Ramsey of Cleveland, Ohio solved a horrific ten year-old kidnapping crime. He was hailed as a hero (which he denies) and became a media sensation. But he hates that, too. He just wants to be left alone.
I believed this was proof positive the world wasn't as horrible as I imagined. But it has been soured, because of two mistakes Mr. Ramsey accidentally made. Note, these aren't actual mistakes. I'm talking about normal behavior, which one can no longer do in the Youtube Era™.
The first was this: Ramsey spoke on camera, setting off a chain of events that propelled him to internet fame. No doubt most of the fame was due in part to affluent white Americans who like to mock people with different socio-economic standards than themselves while of course profiting off of it on youtube and through itunes sales. Because that's exactly what Auto Tune The News is. I don't care if they split the money with Antoine Dodson or not. It's like a British invasion artist in the 60's learning the blues from a black man, only to repay him by doing a cover years later.
Anyway, the second mistake Mr Ramsey made was, he mentioned a brand name in an interview.
We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims & respect their privacy. Way to go Charles Ramsey- we'll be in touch.
— McDonald's Corp. (@McDonaldsCorp) May 7, 2013
It might be helpful to point out that, Ariel Castro, the kidnapper, was pulled over and arrested in a McDonalds.
Perhaps this is a way to deflect from that piece of info. And what better way than to give him free McDonalds for a year?
It's one thing for regular donors to make a gesture in a situation like this. Individual donors can't profit of it. But it is another, and far worse thing for corporations to do so.
According to Cleveland.com Ramsey is not only disavowing all such gestures, he has a lawyer to protect his intellectual property. Because it's not just McDonalds. An online video game created in Taiwan features Ramsey and the kidnapper, Castro throwing burgers at each other. And Pura Vida, the place where he works as a dishwasher wanted to name a burger after him.
They then had to backtrack issuing this statement:
"The Ramsey burger was named to honor an employee at a time he indicated he would be returning to his job at Hodge's. It was not developed to generate additional revenue for the restaurant -- nor has it," the statement said. "We are saddened to hear that Chuck did not take this -- or the offer of so many Cleveland restaurants to give him free meals -- in the spirit we intended.
Yeah, but if you made more money off of it, it would be additional revenue. So, yeah. Nice try. You are trying to capitalize off of his name. And Ramsey has now gone on record saying he never authorized his name or likeness.
More importantly, another statement issued through Walker or Walker and Jocke, his law firm, repeats what Ramsey has said since the very beginning : "He is encouraging people to do things that will help the victims."
Hard to believe. But some people don't want corporate charity. Charles Ramsey seems like he is one of them. It's condescending, and patronizing and yes, opportunistic. Because what else is social media but one potential opportunity after another?
Charles Ramsey has a flawed past by his own admission. Also by his own admission, he is not a hero. But from the moment Ramsey first rescued those victims, to the moment he hired a lawyer to stop such corporations from earning publicity off of his name, he became someone to look up to. Which is more than I can say for McDonalds.