The Mystery of a Vanished Magazine Story on Cartie Thefts in Detroit

A Brooklyn journalist joins Detroiters who wonder why we can't see a GQ magazine article about Cartier eyewear's role in Detroit hip-hop circles and crime statistics. 

If you have to ask, you can't afford these. (They start at $2,000.)

"By all accounts, [Zach Goldbaum] wrote an interesting story about the high-end brand’s place in Detroit culture. I’d love to read it, but I can’t," writes David Uberti at Splinter News, part of Gizmodo Media Group.

The article has disappeared from GQ’s site and it’s unclear whether it will appear in a subsequent print issue. The cached link that had been circulating around Reddit and Twitter is likewise busted.

Users on those sites are speculating that GQ removed the story after getting an earful from Cartier, and a source at the magazine adds that while the post’s removal is common knowledge, the reason why remains unknown.

GQ caving to an advertiser’s threat isn’t a crazy proposition, particularly given the story’s web headline: “How One Style of Glasses Became a Symbol of Status and Violence in Detroit.” . . . Glossy magazines largely depend on high-end brands for ad revenue.

This writer read the article, which quotes Police Chief James Craig, when a cached link at this Reddit thread still worked Wednesday. Now I regret not creating a copy. 

At Reddit's Detroit forum, someone else who read it in time praises a "thoughtfully written and well-researched article."

Aaron Foley posted two paragraphs Thursday morning with the now- inoperative link to the "must-read story," at The Neighborhoods, a city government news site he oversees. Here's one excerpt:

Between 2012 and 2016 [in Detroit], Cartier glasses figured in nine homicides, 17 non-fatal shootings, and 2,158 robberies. There was the time in 2014 when, in exchange for a watch and Cartier glasses, Timothy Jones helped a neighbor dispose of his wife. And there were the trio of carjackers who drove off with $1,600 in cash and a pair of vintage frames, or the two-man holdup crew that deprived a 29-year-old of his glasses and, for a time, the use of his right leg.

Uberti asks GQ why the article abruptly vanished without explanation. The Condé Nast group magazine replies that it "wasn’t circulated through the proper channels and the story inadvertently went live for a short period." A New York spokeswoman is mum about whether it'll resurface.

Neither he nor Foley heard back from Goldbaum, the freelancer who wrote it. 

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