DETROIT — A billionaire businessman has apologized for his real estate company’s controversial sign in downtown Detroit that says “See Detroit Like We Do” with an image of a mostly-white crowd.
Quicken Loans Founder and Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert posted on Facebook Sunday, saying his Bedrock company “screwed up badly.”
“Although not intended to create the kind of feelings it did, the slogan/statement we used on these graphics was tone deaf, in poor taste and does not reflect a single value of philosophy that we stand for at Bedrock Development or in our entire Family of companies,” the post said.
The installation resulted in a number of social media posts expressing frustration with the lack of people of color in the photo, which was posted Friday on the weekend of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 riots in Detroit.
The campaign’s majority white photograph, posted on a residential high-rise, contradicted 2010 U.S. Census data indicating the city is more than 82 percent black.
A Bedrock spokeswoman said the panel’s photo features a Detroit Marching Band trumpeter in the crowd and was taken by the company at the 2016 Public Matter event featuring Lupe Fiasco in Detroit.
Gilbert said the display was only one of many panels that were to make up the final advertisement, which he said would have been diverse and inclusive. But he said the image was removed Saturday after he realized the “partial installation would completely distort our vision for the finished project.”
Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey posted on Facebook after the sign was removed that it appears “Bedrock got the message. Let’s see Detroit with everyone included.”
“Even though the above final product would have been in line with our strong beliefs that all of our advertising and marketing reflect the communities where we do business … we have still tabled this particular campaign and will take the feedback and lessons learned here to even further examine our content, processes and even installation schedules to improve in all that we do,” Gilbert wrote. “We’ll be better at this next time.”