Under Fire, Gerber Group Responds to Criticism over ‘Mr. Purple’ in the Hotel Indigo [UPDATED]
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Under fire for naming its trendy rooftop hang after the late Adam Purple (aka David Wilkie), Gerber Group is certainly on a defensive footing at the Hotel Indigo. And it only just opened. Pretty much everyone in the community is calling them out on Mr. Purple. So much so, that it requires an official response from the front office. A publicist’s nightmare.
“I know you and the other community blogs aren’t happy with [Gerber Group] right now,” a representative from PR firm LFB Media Group tells us in an email. The response continues…
The name of the bar and restaurant was established when the project was first conceptualized in 2014. It was indeed inspired by Lower East Side resident David Wilkie, who became known as “Mr. Purple.” A gardener and activist, he was an iconic figure who dedicated his life to beautifying and improving the neighborhood. A mural was painted in his honor and can be seen on display in the lobby area of the hotel. Also, in honoring Wilkie’s dedication to the neighborhood, the restaurant is committed to supporting the Lower East Side community through several initiatives including partnerships with the Bowery Mission and local businesses such as Russ & Daughters, il laboratorio del gelato and Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery who are all featured on the restaurant’s menu. Additionally, through the Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN), 30 percent of jobs at the hotel have been allocated to local residents.
UPDATE: the claim that they’ve partnered with Russ & Daughters is bullshit. The century-old appetizing company confirms that in no way do they endorse Mr. Purple. “That restaurant simply purchased smoked salmon at our shop one time,” R&D director of communications Jen Snow tells us. “We never authorized them to use our name on their menus or in their promotional materials.”
UPDATE 2: The Gerber Group responds to the Russ & Daughters claim.
When our chefs were developing the menu for Mr. Purple, they met with management of Russ & Daughters to discuss offering their smoked salmon. It was made clear that we would want to highlight their brand. It is unfortunate that recently they have changed their minds regarding our usage of their name, but wish to continue doing business with us. We look forward to continuing to supporting our other local vendors.
Even if the “Mr. Purple” namesake was chosen during his lifetime, the proximity to Purple’s death creates an insensitivity. The name should be changed. Moreover, we’re supposed to congratulate a business for accepting the local establishments? Shouldn’t that be the norm?
Most importantly, would Adam Purple have even gone here if he were still alive?