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How This Racially Tone-Deaf Ad Made Cavs Owner Dan Gilbert Apologize

It’s no secret that things have been going downhill for Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert this week.


In true domino effect form, the Cavs parted ways with their former general manager David Griffin, and soon after their point guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade, which reportedly “blindsided” LeBron James and then ultimately opened the door for the devastated athlete toshoot opinion-shots through the media. Not to mention that the team is still recovering from the NBA Finals loss against Golden State last month.

Just as things seemed as though they couldn’t get worse, Gilbert signed a Sunday night Facebook post that announced his organization, Bedrock Development, “screwed up badly” when posting a sign in downtown Detroit that said, “See Detroit like we do.”

The billboard, which featured the logo of Gilbert’s Bedrock real estate company, also displayed ground-level window panels covered from top to bottom with a continuous image of mostly white people despite Detroit being a city that the 2010 US Census showed to be more than 82 percent Black.

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In the Facebook post Gilbert wrote, “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.”

He also added, “We immediately killed this dumb campaign slogan as soon as it was communicated more widely in our company. You won’t be seeing that tagline anywhere again.”

Gilbert further explained that image was only part of what was to be a larger and more diverse group.

After the first panel was installed on Friday, according to Gilbert, it was removed Saturday when the company realized that “partial installation would completely distort our vision for the finished project.”

A wave of frustration was seen on social media over the weekend regarding the installation, which occurred on the weekend of the 50thanniversary of the 1967 disturbance in Detroit, a riot that ended in 43 deaths 33 Black and 10 white.

Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey shared his thoughts on the ill-fated ad:

Below is a capture of Bedrock’s full statement:

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