Lawsuit: A “women’s leadership forum” on Wall Street was headlined by a sexist right-wing pundit

Lawsuit: A “women’s leadership forum” on Wall Street was headlined by a sexist right-wing pundit

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Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

A new lawsuit alleging toxic workplace culture for women at a prominent Wall Street firm includes a gross Fox News connection that pretty much sums up how easily misogyny transcends any single workplace or industry.

On February 12, firm employee Lauren Bonner filed a federal lawsuit saying Wall Street billionaire Steven Cohen’s investment firm Point72 Asset Management is a “boys’ club” in which women are paid less than their peers and regularly demeaned. The lawsuit detailed numerous instances of alleged discriminatory workplace conduct and structural sexism -- including a 2016 women’s leadership event headlined by former Fox News contributor Keith Ablow.

The lawsuit contends that several executives and employees regularly made comments about women employees’ appearances, kept women from being promoted or compensated as much as their male peers, referred to women as “girls” and “sweethearts,” and excluded women from meetings. According to the suit, one executive reportedly wrote the word “PUSSY” on a whiteboard and kept it up for several weeks for all to see; a consultant reportedly told a high-ranking employee that he could “fuck” an unidentified woman if he wanted to, because “she works for me.”

The New York Times’s report on the lawsuit ended with a Fox News connection:

In one example of the firm’s allegedly inhospitable culture, the lawsuit described a women’s leadership forum that Mr. Cohen hosted in October 2016 at his 35,000-square-foot mansion in Greenwich, Conn. One of the main speakers was a psychiatrist and Fox News contributor who, according to the lawsuit, described Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, as “an accomplished man’s wife.”

A person who attended the event confirmed that account.

A review of the full legal complaint reveals that the aforementioned “psychiatrist and Fox News contributor” is Keith Ablow. Until recently, Ablow was a member of Fox News’ so-called “Medical A Team” -- a contributor role the unethicalpop psychologist” utilized primarily to feed junk science and bigotry to gullible Fox viewers.

Though he’s now largely disappeared from Fox airwaves, some of Ablow’s apparent qualifications for speaking at a women’s leadership forum include past on-air treasures like regularly bullying transgender people, claiming same-sex marriage will lead to bestiality, delivering racist rants about former President Barack Obama and ebola, and criticizing German Jews for not having “more actively resisted” Nazi occupation.

Of course, Ablow also has highly nuanced, informed opinions about gender. He has:

  • proclaimed that gender equality means men can hit women;
  • claimed young girls “provoked” harassment by wearing leggings to school;
  • written that “every single man alive has been sexually harassed by being exposed to sexually suggestive clothing worn by women specifically to convey erotic messages in schools and at work”;
  • suggested model Kendall Jenner sexually harassed him by appearing “half-naked” in public;
  • wondered if any actresses had ever "victimized [Harvey] Weinstein by playing on his narcissism and need for sex, exacting from him incredibly valuable opportunities"; 
  • argued Weinstein, Charlie Rose, and Louis C.K. -- all reported for sexual harassment -- should have been “protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act”;
  • defended former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, questioning the timing of numerous women who came forward with stories about Moore abusing them when they were teenagers;
  • blamed Victoria’s Secret and women who shop there for “creating more Harvey Weinsteins”;
  • called for men to have veto power over women’s abortions;
  • suggested former first lady Michelle Obama should “drop a few” pounds;  
  • asserted that women are inherently less charismatic political candidates (unless they’re pretty like Sarah Palin); and
  • frequently fearmongered about so-called attacks on traditional masculinity.

Bonner’s legal team surely knows a few things about the sort of misogyny likely featured at Point72’s “women’s leadership forum” with Ablow -- it’s the same firm handling several legal actions tackling serial workplace sexual harassment at 21st Century Fox.

Posted In
Gender, LGBTQ, Sexual Harassment & Sexual Assault
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Keith Ablow
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