Ackman Badgered By Rich Wokes At Closed-Door Milken Session

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, May 11, 2024 - 03:10 PM

At this week’s Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, while the financial elite discussed artificial intelligence and Elon Musk's latest ventures, a crucial and fiery debate on diversity unfolded behind closed doors. About 40 attendees, including influential Wall Street figures and senior executives of color, engaged in a heated discussion with hedge fund manager Bill Ackman over his controversial stance on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

In a private, invitation-only panel, Ackman - who's come under intense fire from the woke-industrial-complex, faced criticism for his public denunciation of DEI initiatives, which he has labeled as "inherently racist and illegal." The dialogue, which lasted about an hour, saw attendees harangue Ackman’s over his views, accusing him of attacking women's rights (as opposed to the trans movement?) and people of color in the U.S., Bloomberg reports. The panel included notable figures such as Jarvis V. Hollingsworth of the $200 billion Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and Dina DiLorenzo of Guggenheim Investments - which manages over $300 billion, among others.

Ackman’s comments at the panel echoed his previous criticisms, where he accused DEI staff at universities, including Harvard, his alma mater, of promoting divisive concepts. His views, articulated in a post on social media platform X, argue that DEI represents a political movement rather than genuine diversity efforts.

Ackman, the billionaire founder of activist investment firm Pershing Square Capital Management, began his high-profile assault against DEI initiatives last year after accusing elite colleges, including his alma mater Harvard University, of failing to respond to allegations of antisemitism on campus. At the panel this week, Ackman blamed DEI staff members for fostering ideas that deem some “oppressed” and others, including Jewish people, as “oppressors,” according to the attendees. -Bloomberg

Ackman joins notables such as Elon Musk, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and former President Donald Trump in their criticism of DEI initiatives - which shred the concept of meritocracy and competitive results - a sentiment echoed by Argentine President Javier Milei and Citadel founder Ken Griffin at the conference - the latter of whom said he would continue withholding funds from Harvard until the school "recommits itself to meritocracy in a very public and profound way."

Pushing on Bill

According to the report, 'Most who spoke pushed the money manager to recast his attack on DEI, arguing that his message threatens to undercut diversity programs across America, the people said. At least one speaker said his attack on DEI reflected a poor understanding of the Civil Rights movement, including the Jewish community’s role in it, the people said. Others said they’d witnessed his previous efforts to support diverse talent and businesses, but that his message on DEI is being co-opted by those who seek to diminish opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.'