Steven Cohen’s Investment Firm Accused of Hostility to Women

Feb 12, 2018 · 62 comments
ChrisTobey (New York )
Nice to see that while Cohen narrowly slithered out of jail time he’s managing to maintain his track record of unethical behavior. According to LinkedIn Bonner is a Harvard grad with a background at top funds. I think we can safely assume she’s neither an idiot nor an ingenue. Let’s not forget she’s risking her entire career by standing up for what’s right. I’m fully behind Ms Bonner here. Go get em Lauren!
Ma (Atl)
The allegations must be investigated, by the courts, not the news. I've not doubt that sexism is occurring based on the article (calling women 'girls' or 'sweathearts'). For me, that is not enough to sue, but all should be investigated. However, this woman joins in 2016 and is mad because she was passed over by a man with less time? 2016 and you're already expecting a promotion? Wow, nice business to get into. Hope the truth comes out and the guilty punished, but also hoping that this 'movement' isn't being taken advantage of by anyone looking for an opportunity to do anything other than call out the truly guilty. I've been called 'sweatheart' at work on occasion, and was not ready to sue.
Margo Channing (NYC)
How is this man still in business? What wasn't he barred from the industry? I guess the same reason why Pelosi can still trade with insider information. People in high places. Yet if we were caught doing same. Unreal.
Kurt Pickard (Murfreesboro, TN)
Ya know I'd like to walk around in expensive suits, drive around in exotic cars and live in a mansion surrounded by all it's finery. I mean I'm as smart as any of those guys, and much better looking, but I don't have the wallet and never had the opportunity to play in that sand box. Alas, as much as I know that I could do what they do, they won't let me in the door. Am I a victim of discrimination? You betcha! They won't let me take a crack at Bellacheck's job either, and believe me when I say I'm a much better coach than that guy! So where do I go to complain about being discriminated against? I know, at the end of the line behind all the women.
There's a reason they make you read "Lord of the Flies." In 8th grade. My daughter just read it in school for the first time and we had a long discussion about what she took away from the book. As she put it, "Boys are dangerous." As a man, I hope she remembers that lesson all her life.
Margo Channing (NYC)
Your daughter is wise beyond her years.
Jason (Canada)
Such workplaces are absolute pressure cookers. Does any reasonable person actually think that boatloads of men in workplaces such as this haven't been destroyed, mocked or humiliated by more senior male partners and managers? Or that some haven't been paid what other men receive or haven't been given that plum promotion? Get a grip! Of course this happens to men. Some men (often sheer brutes with a narrow skill set) get to the top of workplaces such as this. Other men get systematically ripped to shreds and/or worked to sheer collapse. So, by all means, address the toxic environment at this unhealthy workplace, but ensure that, in addition to women, no man be treated unfairly ever again. Good luck with that!
Harris Silver (NYC)
Seems like its a hostile for men too. I guess that's part of the hazing. How much of your character are you willing to sacrifice to get rich.
JJ (Chicago)
Can't wait until #metoo reaches law firms.
enrique (NYC)
Women can't win. If they make a little money, then "they're doing this for the payday." If they make a lot, then "they should put up with it and shut up." Why not just look at the behavior that is the cause of the problem?
"Douglas Haynes, once a top executive at the consulting firm McKinsey, was brought in as Point72’s president." As someone who has worked in consulting for years , this is not surprising either. The management consulting industry has also been heavily dominated by men. Women and minorities are now getting hired but you will always find promotions being handed out to white jock boys. Important meetings , bonuses , top management is always old white men who will belittle women , be racist and support trump behind closed doors.
Me (Boston)
Go Lauren Go! Thank you for being a trailblazer along with Ellen Pao. Investment banks, hedge funds, VCs -- Time's up.
Nyalman (NYC)
Yeah. Ellen Pao lost her suit.
Margo Channing (NYC)
She's not a trailblazer. I know many women who faced this and worse, much worse and things were handled in this very industry only she didn't get her name in the press.
Scott (Paradise Valley, AZ)
As stated, don't be surprised if this drops to 0% women at large hedge funds. Being litigious isn't good for business, and the sentiment is turning into, is hiring this woman worth the risk of being sued 10 years later? Are we going to just open a website for women to complain (like they did with Wynn)? It is getting absurd.
enrique (NYC)
Nope, it's been absurd all this time. This movement is injecting a little sanity into these environments. Also, not hiring women would lead to a lawsuit too. The way to avoid being sued is not to break the law.
Mark (Arizona)
As a man, I have been harassed by women in the workplace. But, what could I do about it? No one takes harassment of men by women seriously. Yet, it happens everyday all over America. Women bring their flakiness to work. You know exactly what I’m talking about, ladies. Calling men by pet names, slapping them on the hand or touching them. A man isn't going to run to human resources with it. They will harass back. This is why, if I owned a company, I wouldn’t want the men and women working side-by-side. It causes too many problems. They would have separate work areas, because I’m not running a social experiment.
Margo Channing (NYC)
I've worked in the same office for more years than I care to mention here, and guess what I work with ....wait for it......MEN!!! And guess what else we know our boundaries it's a little thing called respect. And I would hope that any adult would know what the word meant. I've encountered one problem with a harasser but I took care of that nasty incident in my own way. Thankfully the wonderful group I work with can joke with one another and then get down to business with nothing simmering in the background.
Lissa (Virginia)
Mark, sounds like you've landed in any decade since women were able to work alongside men...and you are a WOMAN! Congratulations! You can either take some time for the culture to catch up and take you seriously; go through years of being blamed for your harassers behavior when you do choose to speak up; or you can go the route you're going: become the victim yourself--even though you are being overtly harassed, and revert to ridiculous childish behavior that most of us learned not to do on the playground. Thank goodness you are not in charge of social experimentation.
richard N (illinois)
These things such as misogyny practices, pejorative comments against women, and the use of swear words to define what a firm's mindset is (because of the influence of men) will always continue as long as you have Men in Command of an Organization (check out the Military) that like to degrade Women as much as they can and get away with doing so.
AnneSN (Redding, CT)
Nice to know these "guys" retained their carried interest benefit in the new tax bill, despite Trump's campaign promise to eliminate it.
njglea (Seattle)
It is hard to believe this is just now becoming mainstream news. Women have known it forever, even "conservative" women. It's no secret. Thanks to all the Socially Conscious Women who have finally had enough and are speaking up about corporate discrimination and sexual abuse and for the #MeToo movement. Thanks to them for stepping up to run for elected office to help bring balance to the Good Old Boys' Cabal power-over model. It is centuries past time. Women - do NOT listen to anyone who says to "be fair to men" or to those who try to control this massive movement for true gender equality in OUR United States of America and the world. Continue to speak/shout out the horrid methods that have been, and are being, used to try to suppress women and take away their choice of what to do with their bodies and lives. Socially Conscious Women and Men sharing power is the way to a stable, relatively peaceful world. NOW is the time - at last.
meloop (NYC)
One day, in the not too distant future, when we become far more concerned about the fact that Americans can no longer write, spell or read much less get a job, the issue of a few dozen wealthy women demanding to sit at the head table to eat with the big boys, will seem quaint. We have already gone through this at least once, in the 60's and 70's and women eventually decided after a taste of the awful food the boys were eating , that they preferred what their mothers and other women have historically consumed. As it was forty years ago, it will be in the future . This too shall pass.
Margo Channing (NYC)
My mother was a feminist long before anyone ever heard of Gloria Steinem, she was the only women in a sea of men who were engineers. Most treated her with respect some did not, they were dealt with accordingly by said mom. Power to the women who fought, are fighting and will continue the fight.
pam (boston)
Nonsense. Civil rights are essential to civilization, economic growth, and equal job opportunities. It is demonstrably untrue that only “wealthy women” face hostile work environments. They are some of the few with resources to challenge the situation. Even then, as the article notes, they come forward at great risk to their future. They are brave to blow the whistle on entrenched ugly sexism. As for telling women what they “prefer” in terms of careers, yours is precisely the kind of pernicious stereotype that needs education as well as eradication.
Matt (Seattle, WA)
Duh. Virtually every firm on Wall Street is "hostile" to women, because they are all run/managed/controlled by highly competitive, testosterone fueled men. It's just that most firms do a better job of buying people off and sweeping everything under the rug than Point72 has....
Chris (La Jolla)
This is becoming a witch-hunt, similar to the McCarthy-era Communist scare. Except in that situation, most of the accused were Communists. It is now fair game for anyone who did not get promotion, has remorse or is just vindictive. There is little investigation, no consequence for false allegations. Just a word or accusation appears to be enough. Hiring a woman can be dangerous today.
Lissa (Virginia)
"hiring a woman can be dangerous today'. You are correct, for all the wrong reasons--but you are undeniably correct. And we are just getting started.
Xoxarle (Tampa)
Apparently it’s no big deal if male bosses subject female underlings to harassment, bullying, discrimination and threaten their careers if they don’t acquiesce to predatory advances. What really upsets Chris here is the notion that these women might object to this or even seek to hold them accountable. I wonder if he would be so sanguine if he was on the receiving end?
EDC (Colorado)
Your attitude is truly what is wrong with today's society. Hiring a woman today is not a dangerous thing. Hiring a man today that has little or no respect for his co-workers is a dangerous thing. Learn the difference.
Why didn't someone erase that word from the whiteboard - it is a whiteboard - erase it and say - "this is not OK - in fact it is not only extremely unprofessional and ungentlemanly, but it is illegal." I would have at least started with that...
MDCooks8 (West of the Hudson)
As the #MeToo movement continues on their campaign, at some point the legal system will catch up , however it may not always be on the side for the movement. Eventually mistakes will be made by unjustifiable allegations that will lead to liable lawsuits, that could setback or even derail the movement. As for what words or use of language constitutes a hostile work environment, is very speculative and subjective when claimants use examples such as "“an accomplished man’s wife." So which word is hostile? The word "wife" , "man" or "accomplished"? People seem to forget that one aspect that many people voted for President Trump (like it or not) is the "Political Correctness" atmosphere that he would challenge. His voters did not oppose being "PC", but became tired of hearing this as a main focal point in society. From my experience in the workplace within the corporate world, most complaints about the work environment arose a significant amount of times when there were rumors about layoffs, or other types of major changes that would impact staff. As many people are pointing out, let these issues be worked out in the proper forum, the legal system, not the media.
Alice's Restaurant (PB San Diego)
With such things, it's always about talent, imagination, and ambition. It's a problem for most women who enter the financial world and engineering. Despite the propaganda in the media to the contrary, the law can't force what the cosmos denied. Such is life on planet earth.
Dwight McFee (Toronto)
My question is this particular business practice of hedge funds, scooping off the top, providing no real benefit for the economy. It’s speculation with a no loose agorythm. Has nothing to do with providing capital for the actual real economy. It’s a boys club rationalization for taking from others. Legitimized by their sick republicans and insincere democrats. Follow the money.
christina kish (hoboken)
I think we need to get off the topic of how much a person makes in deciding if their complain has merit. US is supposed to be a place where its OK to work hard and do well, how much someone makes is not the point. the point is this industry like the tech industry is a bro's club with lots of testosterone and no girls allowed attitude. This is illegal. While everyone may be getting tired of all of this discussion, please remember it is so pervasive that only when we start taking it seriously and holding companies accountable will this cease to be a problem. Currently it appears that public naming and shaming is the only way companies will enforce the buckle up buttercup, its going to be a long ride
James (Atlanta)
That's it! The example of an "inhospitable culture" is that a third party speaker, not a firm leader, not even a firm employee, describes Mrs. Clinton as "an accomplished man's wife" at a firm event. Who knew that being a Democrat was now being a member of a protected class under Title VII?
Hillary E (NY)
This occurred at a women’s leadership conference. Context matters.
pam (boston)
That is only one data point among many, including the vulgar term maintained on the white board of a senior executive.
K Kelly (Chicago)
Wow - Basic statistics, if only 3% of MD's are women there is a very strong internal force at work. More women graduate college than men, women are well-represented at the top B-schools. Not all women have children. At $300k base plus bonus, you can afford childcare or have stay at home dad. So, there should be plenty of qualified women to fill these positions. It is also just bad business to hire by demographic. You should only be looking at talent and ability to produce. You can't tell me those qualities are only passed down on the Y chromosome.
Max (Australia)
MD as in medical doctor? About 30% of doctors are women, and those numbers are increasing as you point out they are graduating at higher rates than men. No social injustice that I can see.
H. Wolfe (Chicago, IL)
Where are the statistics on how many women actually want to work at a hedge fund and how many actually apply?
Alex (Indiana)
It's hard to know not having been there. The finance industry is a difficult place to work, though the rewards can be great - very great. The hours are grueling, and employees are continuously under the microscope. Work-life balance is a joke, and child rearing obligations are notoriously difficulty to manage, for women or for men. "Toxic work environment" is probably an all too often accurate phrase. Those who find they cannot thrive in such a world should, and usually can, seek employment elsewhere. The question is, is Point72 an equal opportunity offender, or was there discrimination? I'm sure there's selective reporting here; it wouldn't surprise me if this article is sourced by a lawyer with an agenda. That doesn't mean it's inaccurate, but a bit of skepticism is likely warranted. Were women judged out loud on their physical appearance? How about the men? Like women, men are often judged by their appearance, how tall they are, whether they are attractive, etc. It happens to those with a "Y" chromosome, as well as to those without, more often than we care to admit, both explicitly and implicitly. So, an interesting and unsurprising article about the world of high stakes finance. But, perhaps best not to draw certain conclusions without more, likely impossible to come by, information.
Bill smith (NYC)
So your solution to a problem is to claim men too and then do nothing because we can't possibly ever have enough information to make a judgement.
njglea (Seattle)
Is Alex a man? Must be. Women and socially conscious men do not need more "information". Socially Conscious Women and Men will change the world by sharing power equally. It is the way to a more stable, peaceful world and for social/economic justice for ALL people. NOW is the time.
HH (Rochester, NY)
When you're making more than $300,000, the standard for enduring offensive remarks should be very high. - If Lauren Bonner were making $50,000 a year, her case would have more merit.
Zoned (NC)
HH The logical conclusion is that it is okay for men to make more money for doing the same work because salaries are high and women in high salaried positions give up their right to equal pay for equal work. Hmmm?
Mom of Two (Gainesville, VA)
That’s ridiculous. The Plaintiff alleges that men with the same or less experience were making twice as much.
David (San Francisco)
In essence you're suggesting a reverse deference (a reversal of the deference often shown to people of wealth). You're saying that the more money you make, the more abuse you should be willing to take. Do you think we should apply that 'logic' across the board, to women and men equally, or just to women? And are bosses immune? Is is only their highly-paid underlings that should be willing to take being abused, or might we also expect them to, as well? What happened to mutual respect, one human being to another? Is that so old-fashioned that it's now not even in the cards?
JES (New York)
I hope Showtime's "Billions" will be able to add this to a plot for the fictional Axe Capital.
Frank Haydn Esq. (Washington DC)
No big surprise here. Standard operating procedure for these sorts of firms. Tip of the veritable iceberg. Keep up the reporting on this vital issue.
Barbarika (Wisconsin)
More than the obvious discrimination at this firm. How come the salary+bonus at this ex-convict run firm is over 500K for glorified middle management position, when pediatricians and general physicians with years more training and skill are paid less than half of that. These guys are managing (in fact gambling) our money, they have to be taxed heavily.
ASA (New York)
Point72 has managed only Steve Cohen’s money these past 4 years and any new investors Point72 takes will be 1%ers as well. Way to make this about your own jealousy.
Barbarika (Wisconsin)
And how did Steve Cohen and his 1% clients make their money? By cheating public and other investors. He was barred from managing others money for 4 years, by extremely lenient SEC.
Nyalman (NYC)
Did you not read the article? He is not managing "our" money as you falsely assert. "He created Point72, which currently has more than 1,000 employees, to manage his personal fortune."
RB (Boston, Mass.)
Again, this is why the #MeToo movement is long overdue and so needed.
Tom Aquinas (Canada)
Agreed. Who needs due process?
C's Daughter (NYC)
There is no due process right to your job as a hedge fund manager. Does that clear it up for you? Men who don't understand due process shouldn't be opening their mouths to complain about it.
Tom Aquinas (Canada)
C You should not assume that I’m a male. Not every female is on board with the witch hunt that metoo is now about.
Votealready (Maine)
Being nice and playing by "mens rules" has gotten us nowhere. Men like Steven Cohen have no intention of putting women in charge of anything consequential. They will never believe we are as smart, hardworking or capable as they are. Good luck Ms. Bonner
James (Atlanta)
But since Point75 Asset Management manages Mr. Cohen's money (it's basically a family office) he is the one who will suffer for his shortsightedness if your right, so why do you care, unless you very concerned about his keeping his fortune.
and women like whoopie or Rosie dont want men in charge
Barbarika (Wisconsin)
He was only forced for 4 years to only manage his money by a lenient SEC. That 4 year is up this year, and this vulture capitalist will swoon back to managing public investor/pension fund money which made the said fortune in the first place.
See also