The media has a way of putting people on a pedestal only to tear them down. Sometimes that process spans a career and a lifetime like in the case of Michael Jackson. For Charles Ramsey, the media took only a couple of days to praise and then insult his character.
Ramsey was labeled a hero for rescuing three Cleveland women from the house where they’d been held captive for ten years. He received national attention and became an internet sensation for his colorful personality and memorable quip, “I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway!”
A subsequent interview with Anderson Cooper revealed that Ramsey is a noble, honest and respectable man. After being lauded as a hero, he humbly said “I’m not a hero. I’m an American that just did what anyone else would have done if someone needed help.” When asked about reward money, he responded “I don’t want any reward money. I work for a living. Give it to the victims.”
Unfortunately, it was only a matter of time before the media uncovered negative aspects from his past to try to discredit his noble act and his character.
The Smoking Gun reported that Charles Ramsey “did prison time from three domestic abuse convictions. Ramsey was arrested in 1997, 1998 and 2003 for battering his ex, eventually leading to their divorce. His ex-wife Rochelle, with whom he had a daughter (and a son from Rochelle’s prior relationship), eventually got an order of protection against him. He also didn’t pay his child support,” before adding “Well this is going to throw a wrench in that whole “hero” narrative.”
And wasn’t that the point of their report: to vilify a man who is only in the public eye because of a selfless and heroic act that saved three women’s lives? Domestic violence and not paying child support is a serious morally reprehensible offense, of course, but you have to wonder why they found it necessary to report on Charles Ramsey’s past in the first place? It certainly won’t encourage other Good Samaritans to help others only to become prey to the media when their good deeds make headline news.
To his credit, Ramsey responded by telling TMZ that he’s unashamed that certain publications dug up domestic violence arrests in his past. He says the experience of serving six months in jail for abusing his wife helped him become a better person who is more inclined to help and save other women: “I’ve made amends with the people involved, and we’ve all moved on and grown up. Those incidents helped me become the man I am today and are the reason why I try to help the community as much as I can … including those women,” he said.