Upmarket San Francisco art gallery owner speaks out after spraying homeless woman with hose to scare her off

Viral video shows gallery owner Collier Gwin spraying water on a homeless woman asking her to ‘move’ multiple times  (Screengrab/ABC7)
Viral video shows gallery owner Collier Gwin spraying water on a homeless woman asking her to ‘move’ multiple times (Screengrab/ABC7)

An owner of an upmarket San Francisco art gallery has spoken out after he was filmed spraying water on a homeless woman with a hose to scare her off

The viral video had sparked widespread criticism.

Speaking to local media outlets who traced him down, Collier Gwin, the owner of art gallery Foster-Gwin Art and Antiques, admitted to his actions but went on to defend himself.

“I totally understand what an awful thing that is to do, but I also understand what an awful thing it is to leave her on the streets,” he told ABC7 news.

The video was recorded by another business owner nearby and showed Mr Gwin casually leaning on a railing while hosing down the woman who is sitting on the pavement.

The art gallery owner continues to spray the woman even as she screams.

After a few seconds, he points down the street and shouts at the woman to “move” multiple times. He then asks, “Are you gonna move?”

The video was first posted on theTikTok account of San Francisco bakery Brioche SF on Monday. The business later shared the video on its Twitter handle as well.

Since then, it has led to online outrage as people point out the cruelty of Mr Gwin’s actions amid freezing temperatures.

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“I would love to know the name of this cruel and despicable man, he needs to be held to account for treating a human being like this,” wrote one Twitter user.

“That guy is going to get his karma. Maybe she will get a lawyer and sue him for assault & trauma,” said another user.

Mr Gwin claimed to have made repeated efforts to help the woman and said he and other business owners on the street had complaints that her presence blocked the pavement and entry to his gallery. He said the police didn’t help.

“We called the police. There must be at least 25 calls to police. It’s two days in a homeless shelter, it’s two days in jail, and then they drop them right back on the street,” he was further quoted saying.

He added that he sprayed her as a “last resort” after the woman refused to leave, calling her “psychotic”.

It’s not clear what happened to the woman. Social media users, however, have demanded legal action against the gallery owner.