WEST PALM BEACH —Palm Beach billionaire Paul Tudor Jones has become the target of protests for his slow and, by some standards, wishy-washy response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and statements about women with children.
By the same token the Everglades Foundation, a pro-environment non-profit that hedge-fund manager Jones started in 1993, and Palm Beach Atlantic University, where Jones hosted a symposium, have been hearing it from the public.
Several dozen women gathered outside the downtown West Palm Beach university during a symposium on Everglades restoration hosted on campus by the Everglades Foundation Oct. 21.
The local corporate media missed it, or course. But we were there!
One carried a sign titled “Two Peas In a Pod.” It showed photos of Jones’ face next to Weinstein’s inside an empty bean pod.
Another sign read “Hey, Paul, I’m a woman and I make rational decisions.”
And another: “Shame on you, Paul Tudor Jones. Respect women.”
Several signs were also directed at the Conservative Christian school, which is not immune to gender controversy.
“Does PBAU care?” a hand-written poster read.
The protesters, who as our photos indicate weren’t too keen on showing their faces to reporters, spent several hours on the sidewalk along South Dixie Highway before dispersing peacefully. There was no incident, a West Palm Beach Police spokesman said.
Members of the “great unwashed” protesting a usually-haughty financial whiz who lives in a $72 million-beach house and counts rocker Bono and singer Jimmy Buffett among his closest friends, his foundation and a private college isn’t something you see often in this area.
But in the new era ushered by movie maker Weinstein’s sex-for-acting-roles scandal and the #metoo and #womendeserverespect grass root movements, Paul Tudor Jones isn’t coming across as the squeaky-clean benevolent environmentalist do-gooder he’s been made out to be.
“We feel there’s a need to show up to advocate in favor of women’s rights,” said a protest organizers who asked not to be identified by name. “And from the attitude of passing motorists, I think people are glad we’re out there.”
The woman explained the group, Women Deserve Respect, spraung up nationally in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election last year and now counts 250 adherents in Florida.
So, what’s their beef with Jones?
In 2013, the Washington Post busted Paul Tudor Jones through a video it obtained from the University of Virginia, his alma mater.
The video was recorded at a symposium where Jones didn’t mince words when he talked about women in the world of high finance.
Jones, who made of his Tudor Investment Corp. one of the highest-profile hedge funds company in the world as he became the 144th richest American with a fortune estimated around $4.6 billion, told the students that, while women can be good managers, they might lack the focus it takes to be better traders after they have children.
“You will never see as many great women investors or traders as men. Period. End of story,” Jones said at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. “The idea that you could think straight for 60 seconds and be able to make a rational decision is impossible, particularly when their kids are involved.”
Wait there’s more, and he dug himself into a deeper public relations hole.
Jones described his experience working with two women in the 1970s who stopped focusing on their careers after they had children. Allegedly.
“As soon as that baby’s lips touched that girl’s bosom, forget it,” Jones said. “Every single investment idea, every desire to understand what’s going to make this go up or go down is going to be overwhelmed by the most beautiful experience which a man will never share about a mode of connection between that mother and that baby.”
Then last month, Jones’ slow response to the Weinstein scandal rubbed more women the wrong way.
Jones, you see, was a board member of predatory Harvey’s Weinstein Company. He was the last member to resign in protest, and the only one who failed to comment about Weinstein and sign a joint statement repudiating the producer of Pulp Fiction and Gangs of New York.
Worse: Jones’ board stands accused of ignoring Weinstein’s behavior for years despite prevalent rumors he harassed actresses by appearing nude in front of them for no apparent reason.
The filmmaker’s contract with the company, ratified by Jones and other board members, allowed Weinstein to request massages from actresses who were meeting him for work for as long as Weinstein paid out of his own pocket for judgments and legal costs if he got sued.
As of today, Jones remains silent about the scandal that happened under on his watch.
Jones and Weinstein were so close that the sex-crazed producer was also on the board of Jones’ Robin Hood Foundation, a anti-poverty charity founded by Jones. Weinstein resigned from that board earlier this month.
Jones didn’t respond to requests for comment emailed to several of his addresses. Earlier today, Jones’ publicist declined comment.
As for PBAU, it’s been the target of anti-woman allegations before.
In 2014, PBAU was sued by Dr. Jonathan Coffman, a microbiology professor who claims he was fired by the school for defending the rights of a student who was expelled because she became pregnant.
The case was settled confidentially in 2015.