A week after proclaiming his refusal to give away free McMuffins to homeless people after Portland Trail Blazers games, local activist Jessie Sponberg says he's received plenty of criticism—but no offers to take over the giveaway campaign.
"I've been called a crybaby by a thousand people," Sponberg says. "Not a single person has offered to stand on my corner. Not one. Not even in jest."
For two years, Sponberg collected coupons for free Taco Bell chalupas—a promotion offered when the Blazers scored 100 points—and distributed them to social-service agencies. But when the team announced this month it was replacing the chalupas with McDonald's sausage egg McMuffins, Sponberg wrote a scathing Oct. 8 essay in We Out Here Magazine declaring he "McQuit!"
Sponberg—previously in the press as an organizer of Occupy Mount Tabor—has taken criticism for abandoning the substance of his feed-the-homeless campaign over a brand.
But he says McDonald's was never the issue: "The point was that they had an opportunity to change something," he says, and instead chose another "greasy" item. (He also notes that Taco Bell offers locked restrooms for its customers—a valuable service for homeless people—and McDonald's does not.)
Sponberg says he's redirecting his energy to agitating for more housing and fighting the city's camping ban. He says he's finished with fast-food fights.
"You give away crappy food, and half the city hates you," he says. "You stop giving away crappy food, and half the city hates you."