Ambitious ladies listen up: If you’d like to stay that way, never have a kid and if you do decide to have a baby, under no circumstances let that wailing thing near your bosom.
Those are the words of wisdom Paul Tudor Jones, a super-rich hedge funder, offered during a panel at the University of Virginia, last month. Jones told the audience that one of the major reasons there are so few successful women traders is because bonding with a kid is a “killer” to their ambition, according to the Washington Post, which obtained a video of his appearance through a Freedom of Information Act Request.
Jones later apologized for the "off the cuff remarks" in a statement to WaPo, noting that he has three daughters who he's always pushed to pursue careers in "anything to which they set their heart and mind."
The incendiary comments came in response to a question about why there were only “rich middle-aged white men” on the panel. This from the WaPo:
“As soon as that baby’s lips touched that girl’s bosom, forget it,” Jones said, MOTIONING TO HIS OWN CHEST [emphasis mine] during an April symposium. Jones was talking about two women who worked at the same stock brokerage firm as he did in the late 1970s — both got married, had children and, according to his account, no longer had the laser focus needed for the intense world of macro trading.
To recap, it’s not structural sexism ingrained in workplaces in the U.S. -- and especially in the finance industry -- that’s preventing female traders from reaching the top of their field, according to Jones. Instead, it’s their insistence on procreating.
So what makes Jones, who is a man, qualified to speak on the topic? It’s a little unclear. As far as we can tell his claims to fame are being worth billions of dollars and the super-awesome Christmas decorations on his Connecticut mansion. In other words, he hasn’t really had much personal experience navigating the workplace as a woman and making the tough choices that often entails.
But, oh wait, some people in his very immediate family may be facing those exact challenges, making his comments all the more strange. As Jones notes, he has daughters, and the outburst may do more to hurt their careers than any desire to have children. Daughters of men with egalitarian ideas about gender are more likely to be ambitious at work, according to a recent study.
UPDATE: May 24, 3:20 p.m. -- On Friday, Jones issued an apology for his remarks about female traders.
“Much of my adult life has been spent fighting for equal opportunity, and the idea that I would support limiting opportunity for any segment of society, particularly women, is antithetical to who I am and what I have done,” Jones said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.
Donald Trump's Video Gaffe
Days before the presidential election, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/profile/donald-trump/">Donald Trump</a> set eyeballs rolling the world over by posting a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgOq9pBkY0I&feature=youtu.be&hd=1">YouTube video</a> making President Obama an offer he wouldn't be able to refuse, to use a cliche not far removed <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=26987232&l=9c7529f686&id=153080620724">from the real estate mogul’s own words</a>. The billionaire <a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/05/trump-obama-born-in-kenya-124569.html">birther</a> gave the President a week to produce his college records and passport applications in return for a $5 million donation to the charity of Obama’s choice. His move derided in the press as, at best, a ploy for attention -- and needless to say,the President didn't bite. At the time, Trump told Forbes he'd had positive feedback from the video. <a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mlf45jfkj/thor-batista/">Read more at Forbes</a>.
Silvio Berlusconi: Scandal As Usual
He remains on trial for alleged sex with an underage prostitute. He was sentenced to a year in jail in October for tax fraud. Yet Italian media billionaire and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was still toying with the idea of running for re-election as of a few weeks ago. <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/silvio-berlusconi/9748985/Silvio-Berlusconi-announces-engagement-to-27-year-old.html">He also introduced the media to his 27-year-old fiance in December</a>. He's 76, and still married to his second wife. Just another year in the life of the Bunga Bunga king. <a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mlf45jfkj/thor-batista/">Read more at Forbes</a>.
Koch brothers' "Partisan" Pandering?
America's richest brothers Charles and David (pictured) Koch are rarely out of the headlines, but <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/10/15/koch-brothers-pro-romney-letter-to-staff-is-koch-pac-non-partisan-as-they-claim/">October's accusations were more serious</a> than the usual implications of secret electioneering. Shortly before the presidential election, liberal political magazine In These Times <a href="http://inthesetimes.com/article/14017/koch_industries_sends_45000_employees_pro_romney_mailing">obtained and published a packet</a> of voting information sent to 45,000 employees of Koch Industries paper subsidiary Georgia-Pacific. The materials included a list of Koch-endorsed candidates — those who “have received support from a Koch company or Koch PAC”, the company’s political action committee. For Oregon staffers, that list was comprised solely of Republicans: 14 of them at state level, plus the Romney/Ryan presidential ticket. Koch Industries denied any partisanship, but <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/10/15/koch-brothers-pro-romney-letter-to-staff-is-koch-pac-non-partisan-as-they-claim/">said the company supported "market-based policies and economic freedom."</a> <a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mlf45jfkj/thor-batista/">Read more at Forbes</a>.
5-Hour Energy: Death Investigation
Manoj Bhargava, the one-time monk turned energy shot entrepreneur, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/02/08/manoj-bhargava-the-mystery-monk-making-billions-with-5-hour-energy/">made his debut on the 2012 Forbes World's Billionaires list</a> thanks to 5-Hour Energy, his two-ounce cocktail of caffeine and B vitamins that flies off the shelves at Wal-Marts and bodegas nationwide. In November, the FDA announced it was investigating Bhargava's product in relation to 13 deaths, calling the safety of energy supplements into question. The <a href="http://www.mlive.com/business/detroit/index.ssf/2012/12/5-hour_energy_takes_to_youtube.html">billionaire took to YouTube in December to defend 5-Hour-Energy</a> -- a rare foray into the public eye for the quiet entrepreneur. <a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mlf45jfkj/thor-batista/">Read more at Forbes</a>.
Rausing Family Tragedy
This year's most bizarre billionaire story is also the saddest. In July, Hans Kristian Rausing, 49-year-old <a href="http://www.forbes.com/profile/hans-rausing/">scion of a Swedish milk carton fortune</a>, was arrested on suspicion of drug possession in South London. Police then searched his five-story mansion in the city’s pricey Cadogan Place and<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/07/10/drug-addict-billionaire-packaging-heir-arrested-as-socialite-wife-found-dead/"> found the body of his American-born wife Eva</a>. The couple had struggled with addiction for years; Eva had once been arrested trying to smuggle heroin and crack into a party at London's US Embassy. It emerged during police investigations that Hans had been living alongside Eva's corpse for some weeks. He was <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/07/18/billionaire-hans-kristian-rausing-charged-with-preventing-burial-after-living-with-wifes-dead-body-eva-rausing-kemeny-tetra-pak/">charged with "preventing the lawful and decent burial" of his late wife</a>, who was subsequently found to have died of a cocaine overdose. <a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mlf45jfkj/thor-batista/">Read more at Forbes</a>.
Pinault's Baby Mama Drama
French fashion tycoon Francois-Henri Pinault comes from a family worth some $13 billion. His great wealth was at the crux of <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/05/03/billionaire-baby-daddy-drama-linda-evangelista-takes-fashion-mogul-francois-pinault-to-court/">a nasty court case involving his one-time girlfriend, supermodel Linda Evangelista</a>, who claimed the billionaire heir hadn't paid a cent (or euro, as the case may be) in child support for the son he fathered five years earlier. Since then, Pinault has married another beauty, actress Salma Hayek (pictured with the Gucci mogul). Pinault implied in court that he thought Evangelista may have gotten pregnant on purpose during their brief relationship. Lawyers for the cover girl countered that he'd lavished money and attention on his child with Hayek while ignoring his son Augie. The couple settled for an undisclosed amount in May. <a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mlf45jfkj/thor-batista/">Read more at Forbes</a>.