Cancellation Culture Gone Nuts: The Kenneth Fisher Saga

“Be afraid…be very afraid.”—Geena Davis in “The Fly”

Kenneth Fisher, the acclaimed billionaire money manager whose investment firm manages more than $112 billion of investors’ money,  spoke at an October 8 conference.  In his remarks, he said getting new clients was akin to “trying to get into a girl’s pants.” The analogy between marketing and seduction is old, common, and not without validity. It can (and should) be expressed in less vulgar ways, to be sure, but no one in the audience could have mistaken Fisher’s meaning.

Yet the New York Times described the remark as a “lewd and sexist joke”—Lewd? Joke?—and like-minded cancellation culture posse members set out to destroy Fisher and his business in retribution for using an analogy of dubious taste. [ I should note that some attendees at the conference–including some who are Fisher’s competitors—reported that there were other “off-color” comments that could not be confirmed by the Times.]

Thanks to a news and social media campaign since he made that “joke,” the past two weeks have seen public pensions and institutional investors pull nearly $2 billion from Fisher Investments, which has 3,500 employees.  They also deserve to lose their jobs, presumably, because their boss is insufficiently sensitive in a #MeToo world. Other public pensions have placed  Fisher’s firm on a watch list for potential action.

20 thoughts on “Cancellation Culture Gone Nuts: The Kenneth Fisher Saga

  1. Guess I better start checking my analogies along with my white privilege. My girlfriends and I still use “off like a prom dress” when announcing that we are leaving our current location. We thought it was funny when we were 17. We still think it’s funny. Oh well.

  2. Yesterday I took public transit to meet my wife at work. I was a few cents short and asked the driver if I could still ride. He allowed me to get on, for which I was thankful. He then said “aww yeah that’s okay,” followed by “what do I look like…a Republican?”

    Would it be punitive of me to report this exchange to the publically tax funded transit corporation? On one hand, people say stupid (and even disparaging) things all the time and he was kind enough to let me ride. On the other, this seemed unnecessary and unprofessional.

    • Even if the driver was a rabid anti-Republican reporting him would do far more harm than his uninformed comment.

      Assume you had reported him he would automatically believe you were a Republican even if you just left the Bernie Sanders event and would improperly reinforce such animus held by the driver.

      Had he been reported and lost his job over it multiple other persons are harmed: his family, those the work for people from whom he is a customer, etc.

      Why not simply engage him and ask ” That’s an unusual comeback, why did you say that?” Be polite and friendly .

      • If he had a pattern of this kind of behavior though, perhaps he should at least receive a warning.

        Part of my concern is that his sentiments could end up pissing off a particularly unhinged rider who is sick of certain attitudes (especially when riders unwillingly pay to listen to them) and potentially hurt him someday. I’d hope that would never happen but I don’t trust the town I live in anymore, especially as the 2020 election nears, to be non-violent about anything. And as you said, he has a family to think about.

        • Mrs. Q
          Say with a smile I’m sure there are plenty of big hearted republicans just like you.

          It’s about changing attitudes not getting in faces. The driver learned that such statements often get a laugh in Portland so the behavior is reinforced. The objective is to challenge the thinking without challenging the person.

        • I can’t imagine living in the Portland metro area now. I grew up there and it was a very different city back then. I moved back for three years after college and moved away. I’m so glad I made that decision.
          The only reason I visit now is the fact that I’m usually unable to find decent airfare out of Eugene so I have to fly out of PDX.
          I was in Austria during the 2016 election. I was nervous about returning but in the week I had left on my trip, they mellowed out and stopped blocking the freeways.
          If Trump wins again in 2020, it will be insane for a while.

  3. Regarding Fisher’s Civil War comments, I have heard that slavery would have collapsed under its own weight by the 1890’s. It would have become too expensive to own people as opposed to paying them.

    If true, the idea would be that there would not have been the same sort of resentment caused by the war and reconstruction.

    -Jut

  4. I guess 1984 is a how-to manual after all.

    There was a time when every liberal would’ve rejected the very concept. Now, they embrace it so fully that it’s as if it were holy writ.

    The 21st century, as Prof. Reynolds says, isn’t turning out like I’d hoped…

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