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.

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  • K. Michel

    How come everyone keeps calling me “K. Michael”, though? Well…

    “You must understand that “Elegance” is a part of a psuedo ‘feminist when I want to be’ movement that views black men as public enemy number one. Ramsey is being lauded as a hero by the public and she cant stand it. Before we all get too congratulatory she wants to remind us all that he is a black man with a shady past and should be treated as such even after this act of selflessness.

    Her opinion on this matter is already predisposed.” (BeReal)

    I see what you’re saying.

    “What’s that over there in New Jersey? A Black man that feels good about himself…?”

    “- -Not on my watch!”

    Women like that have some kind of an extrasensory perception, when it comes to Black men with self-esteem. That’s really too bad. It also takes away from the legitimate feelings some people may have regarding Ramsey’s past.

  • Kay

    I wasn’t really surprised the media dug up the dirt. Culturally speaking, we’re all about that; building people up only to tear them down until there’s nothing left. However, what he’s done, as horrible as it was, doesn’t take away from what he did that day. The media picks and chooses who to vilify and who to worship. We are told to “forgive,” and “forget,” when some make their amends but not so when it comes to others. I am more concerned about how the victims say there were more women who were forced into the house but then disappeared and they weren’t seen again.