Steven Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management helped his former protege, Gabriel Plotkin, after the latter’s hedge fund Melvin Capital lost billions by betting against video game retailer GameStop. The rug was pulled from under Plotkin by a bunch of small dollar investors coming from a Reddit community called WallStreetBets.
This placed Cohen on the radar of people angry in the aftermath, believing that Wall Street movers had colluded to change the rules of the game and punish the common folk for outsmarting them.
It’s no wonder that attention on Twitter switched from his plans for baseball team the New York Mets, which he purchased for $2.4 billion three months ago, to the way he made his wealth as a hedge fund manager. The negativity was bad enough for Cohen to remark on it several times.
“I’m not feeling the love on this site today. Trading is a tough game. Don’t you think?” he wrote on Thursday.
“Rough crowd on Twitter tonight,” Cohen tweeted on Wednesday night. “Hey stock jockeys keep bringing it.”
Amid the tension, the billionaire got into a back-and-forth with Dave Portnoy, the founder of the popular blog Barstool Sports and one of the loudest critics of Wall Street over the GameStop saga. Portnoy repeatedly called for an investigation and prison terms for all those involved in the decision made by Robinhood to throttle trading.
The commission-free app that supposedly democratized trading was the main way for WallStreetBets members to buy into GameStop stock. After the market rush led to disastrous consequences for short sellers, Robinhood disallowed purchases of the stock involved. Ken Griffin’s firm Citadel is the biggest executor of orders collected by Robinhood, and it also helped bail out Melvin Capital.
Cohen asked on Twitter what beef Portnoy had with him, and the two had a face-off, in which Cohen denied any connection to Robinhood’s questionable move and Portnoy ultimately said: “At least you are speaking and trying to answer. That is appreciated.”
Others were apparently less easy to placate, either on Twitter or offline. Former Cincinnati Bengals player Boomer Esiason, for example, lashed out at Cohen’s tweets on the radio show he co-hosts, Boomer and Gio.
On Friday evening, Cohen’s Twitter account went missing, presumably deleted by Cohen himself. So the GameStop saga may have finally brought comedian Jon Stewart to Twitter, but it pushed Steve Cohen out at the same time.
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