The Foster Gwin Gallery in San Francisco’s Financial District has received a deluge of negative online reviews after a video of the owner turning a hose on a homeless woman went viral.
“Lots of racist imagery on the inside, owners claim that it is ‘Americana’ and an important part of our history so should be in gallery,” one reviewer wrote Tuesday, a day after the incident. “I don’t think so. Made me sick.”
That review is now the most popular Google review of the gallery, with 244 likes.
“Overpriced and the person working was unhelpful to say the least,” wrote another reviewer Tuesday, whose rating was liked 94 times.
Yelp, where the gallery also has a one-star average, has temporarily blocked posting reviews given “increased public attention in the news,” and the gallery’s website is now down, with the message that it is undergoing scheduled maintenance and will be back soon.
One Yelp review posted Tuesday said: “Owner sprayed me with a hose as I was just walking by eating my sandwich!”
Another user wrote on Yelp Tuesday: “The owner has a terrible attitude and treats people in an INHUMANE way when he thinks no one is looking.”
A manned SFPD patrol car now sits outside the beleaguered storefront. The police department has been contacted for comment.
In the wake of the ensuing rage, San Francisco police chief Bill Scott urged calm.
“What I ask is for civility, for people to take a step back and to call the police, call 311 or 911,” Scott said. “Let us come together and help settle disputes if you can’t settle them civilly, because the last thing we want is somebody to get hurt.”
A call on Twitter for a gathering outside of Gwin’s gallery did not materialize in the pouring rain on Wednesday afternoon.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin addressed the matter at a press conference Wednesday. “It is gut-wrenching and horrible to see anybody treating somebody who is destitute and desperate with such inhumanity,” Peskin said.
“It is important that our society and our government send a clear signal that people don’t get to take their frustrations and the law into their own hands,” he continued.
The newly elected Board of Supervisors president added that he hoped criminal charges would be filed against Gwin and an arrest made soon.
Gwin has not responded to The Standard for comment but told ABC7 he acted out of frustration with the homelessness crisis in the city.
Julie Zigoris can be reached at email@example.com