When an Oscar winner declared that Shinola watch company is “saving Detroit,” it surprised a number of people online and frustrated more than a few.
And the criticism wasn’t just relegated to Twitter. In an op-ed on a Detroit-based website, one author wrote bluntly, “Shinola watches aren’t saving Detroit, either, but broadly speaking, the brand as a whole is no savior at all.”
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who represents a portion of Detroit, was pretty specific in her criticism, writing, “Please stop with this disrespectful & hurtful narrative.”
Say what? Please stop with this disrespectful & hurtful narrative that we 1) need saving & 2) that billionaires are the ones to do it.
We just need the 1% to stop taking our land for nothing + shifting our tax dollars towards for-profit development that makes them richer. https://t.co/6pWYVCutI1
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) February 25, 2019
The praise for the watch company came from Peter Farrelly, who directed Best Picture winner “Green Book.” That film was also widely criticized for its watery examination of racism. The Los Angeles Times wrote “the worst best picture Oscar winner since ‘Crash'” in 2005. The film edged out other top pictures like “A Star is Born” and “Black Panther.”
And while companies would usually pay well to have their name dropped during an event like the Oscars, Shinola was adamant that they had nothing to do with the nod.
In a statement on Monday, Shinola said that Farrelly’s mention was “completely unplanned and unexpected.” They added “we did want to make it clear that without the city of Detroit, there would be no Shinola. The city gave our brand life and it’s something we will never take for granted.”
— Shinola (@Shinola) February 25, 2019
Tlaib is one of a team of powerful young members of Congress who are pushing the Democratic party to the left. Along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), she has been outspoken about the need to tax the top one percent. Ocasio-Cortez was famously vocal in her decision to oppose Amazon building headquarters in New York City, which she represents.
Detroit has been hit incredibly hard over the past few decades as their main industry, automobile manufacturing, has dipped as companies shift production overseas and move to automation.