Gucci shuts down unofficial Twitter account that tweeted about homeless man in Detroit

After issuing a series of strange tweets, a Twitter account that claimed to be associated with the new Detroit Gucci store has since been deleted

Gucci's forthcoming Detroit location. - Gucci Detroit / Twitter
Gucci Detroit / Twitter
Gucci's forthcoming Detroit location.

Update: This post was updated with additional information from Gucci, who says the "@Gucci_Detroit" Twitter account is "not authentic and not associated with the Gucci store." The account was deleted after the company contacted Twitter, according to a spokesperson.

Luxury fashion retailer Gucci surprised many when it announced in January it would open a new store in downtown Detroit later this summer.

The store's announcement was met with mixed reviews across social media. While some users were excited and took the luxe designer's opening as another marker for Detroit's renaissance, others voiced concerns about what that opening really meant for many Detroiters who likely could not afford to shop there.

As marketing materials for the store's Library Street location began to appear, snapshots of the new store have circulated on social media. But one picture prompted a Twitter account that claimed to be associated with the Detroit store to issue a statement, though the company tells Metro Times the account was not official.

On July 18, a Facebook user by the name of Angel Lynn shared a photo of the new location with a seemingly homeless person sleeping inside the store's doorway. The post was shared more than 800 times on Facebook, and the image has also been circulated on Instagram and Twitter.

"I usually don’t take pictures of the less fortunate, but this image was insane to me," the photographer wrote. "Gucci is luxury, but for some just staying out the rain is a luxury."

On Monday, a Twitter account that claimed to be the "official" account for the store called @Gucci_Detroit responded to the photo.

"We are aware of the incident of a individual sleeping infringe [sic] of the Gucci Detroit Downtown storefront," the person who runs the @Gucci_Detroit account wrote on Twitter. "We are investigating this matter and we will take appropriate action."

In a follow-up tweet, @Gucci_Detroit continued: "We are also aware of the concerns of expected robberies. We take the safety of our employees and guest seriously. Our employees and security agents are trained to respond to these type of instances."

Lumping in concern about Detroit's unhoused community in with the concern about about potential robberies as the store prepares to open was an interesting choice. However, after this article was published, @Gucci_Detroit backpedaled on their statements — and Gucci's corporate office said it could not verify the authenticity of the @Gucci_Detroit, though the account's only other tweet before commenting on the photo was posting job openings for the Detroit store.

"We are aware of the recent picture that has been circulating around social media of a homeless individual sleeping in front of our Gucci store," @Gucci_Detroit wrote in a follow-up tweet. "We are working on providing assistance to the individual."

In an additional two-part pinned tweet, it added:

Dear Detroit Community; We would like to reiterate that when we meant “investigate” meant that we are looking into a solution to help this individual. We had no intention of portraying him as a criminal nor has that ever been our mission.

In the years to come we hope to work with the City of Detroit to assist in the funding of social and economic issues affecting the residents of Detroit. We never meant harm nor profile towards this individual because he is homeless.

Whoever was running the account appeared to be determined to just tweet through it, adding, "We want to warn anyone attempting to engage in any illegal activities, you will be caught and arrested by DPD." But by 9:45 p.m., the @Gucci_Detroit account was deleted.

A company spokesperson says the account was deleted after it contacted Twitter. "Gucci accounts are verified with a blue check and this was not," the spokesperson says, referring to Twitter's verification process.

The response comes just days after the city of Detroit announced a $203 million affordable housing plan to help aid Detroit's growing housing crisis. The seven-part plan includes $20 million allocated to the Detroit Housing Commission for apartment renovations, $13 million in homeowner and down payment assistance programs, and $3 million to the Detroit Land Bank Authority's affordable home program. The largest allocation, $132 million, will go to expediting approval and creating more affordable low-income housing units.

Additional reporting by Lee DeVito.

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About The Author

Alex Washington

Born and raised on Detroit's Westside, Alex Washington is about as Detroit as they come. She judges your coney island order and serves a mean side-eye when anything across Eight Mile is called "Detroit." Her writing has been published in Real Detroit Weekly, The Detroit Free Press, Model D, BLAC magazine, and...
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