“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.