A real estate agent used a picture of a burning NYPD van to try and sell homes in Florida. Corcoran cut ties with him.

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A police vehicle burns after protesters rallied at Barclays Centre over the death of George Floyd, May 29, 2020, in Brooklyn. Corcoran ad not pictured. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
  • A real estate agent in Florida lost his job after using an image of an NYPD van on fire as a marketing ploy.
  • Joseph Swedroe reportedly interspersed an image of the van with pictures of beaches and boating.
  • He told The Real Deal it was a “marketing piece to get attention,” and said that South Florida has been quieter and calmer than New York.
  • “Corcoran categorically rejects racist and fear-based rhetoric in any form. A Miami-based independent sales agent created this marketing material without our knowledge or approval,” a Corcoran spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

An agent with The Corcoran Group lost his job after using an image of an NYPD van on fire as a marketing ploy, Katherine Kallergis at The Real Deal reports.

Joseph Swedroe reportedly sent out an email blast with the subject line “Looking for Change?” In the email, he interspersed an image of the burning van with pictures of beaches and boating. Additionally, the email reportedly asked if potential buyers wanted to live in “chaos or comfort.”

“Corcoran categorically rejects racist and fear-based rhetoric in any form. A Miami-based independent sales agent created this marketing material without our knowledge or approval,” a Corcoran spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. “We have zero tolerance for this behaviour, and the individual has been swiftly disassociated from our firm. Corcoran has been proud to call New York City home for 47 years, and we love this city and its people.”

Swedroe’s old agent page on The Corcoran Group site leads to a page not found error. However, his LinkedIn page appears to still list him as a sales associate at The Corcoran Group; he is also listed as a partner at Swedroe Architecture.

As of Tuesday, he appeared to still be posting real estate listings to LinkedIn, but he was no longer using the hashtag associated with The Corcoran Group’s Surfside/Bal Harbour office.

“It was just a marketing piece to get attention,” Swedroe told The Real Deal. “If people are going to move, let them come and contact me if they’re coming to South Florida.”

He also told The Real Deal that nothing in his email was “offensive.”

“It’s no secret that New York has been the scene of riots and vandalism and that South Florida is a much quieter and calmer place,” he said to The Real Deal.

In an interview with Business Insider, Swedroe said that charges of racism leveled against him were “defamatory” and “libelous.”

“Nothing that I said or showed pictures of was racist in any way,” he said. He also claimed that he learned of his official termination from The Corcoran Group through The Real Deal article.

Protests over the killing of George Floyd and against systemic racism and inequity have been ongoing in the United States for over two weeks – including in South Florida.

This post has been updated with comment from Joseph Swedroe.