Updated May 30, 9:45 p.m.
The man known as the hero for saving the Cleveland kidnapping victims is saying “no thanks” to a group of local restaurants looking to honor him with the gift of a lifetime of free burgers.
In a statement released through his lawyer Friday, Charles Ramsey says he wants people to help the victims but needs no undue publicity.
“He is encouraging people to do things that will help the victims,” his lawyer said according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He was never asked about authorizing Ramsey Burgers.”
More than a dozen Ohio restaurants had pledged to give a “Chuck card” entitling him to free burgers for life to honor the home-state hero. He’d also received a tribute burger in his name from Hodges restaurant, where Ramsey worked as a dishwasher. Upon hearing Ramsey’s reaction, the restaurant says they’ll take the Ramsey Burger off the menu.
“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,” restaurant owner Chris Hodgson said in a statement. “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.”
Ramsey, who hired a lawyer to help protect his likeness as it may be used in intellectual and property rights issues, is also taking issue with an online video game which depicts him throwing hamburgers at Ariel Castro, the accused kidnapper.
“I want everyone to know that I have nothing to do with this trash,” Ramsey said in a written statement, adding that he’s “disgusted” with the video game.
On Thursday, May 30, a Las Vegas-based firm which handles celebrity speakers announced that “National Hero Charles Ramsey [is] available for speaking engagements and personal appearances.” No fees were specified.