Martin Scorsese has a new film out titled The Wolf of Wall Street. It is based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort, who in the 1990’s ran a brokerage firm called Stratton Oakmont that did illegal “pump and dump” schemes that got Belfort thrown into prison. I’m debating in my mind whether or not I should go see this movie. I found Scorsese’s last film, Hugo, dull and over-long. The Wolf of Wall Street clocks in at two hours and forty minutes. This doesn’t look promising.
One person who did see the movie was Christina McDowell, the daughter of Tom Prousalis, one of Belfort’s business partners at Stratton Oakmont. She has written an open letter to the makers of the film, in which she states:
- Belfort’s victims, my father’s victims, don’t have a chance at keeping up with the Joneses. They’re left destitute, having lost their life savings at the age of 80. They can’t pay their medical bills or help send their children off to college because of characters like the ones glorified in Terry Winters’ screenplay.
Let me ask you guys something. What makes you think this man deserves to be the protagonist in this story? Do you think his victims are going to want to watch it? Did we forget about the damage that accompanied all those rollicking good times? Or are we sweeping it under the carpet for the sale of a movie ticket? And not just on any day, but on Christmas morning??
I urge each and every human being in America NOT to support this film, because if you do, you’re simply continuing to feed the Wolves of Wall Street.
Another argument against seeing this movie. The L.A. Weekly has an interesting article about Belfort. In it, we learn that Belfort has only paid $11.6 million of the $110 million he owes his victims.
I’m told that Belfort now works as a motivational speaker. What kind of advice can someone with his background give to people? “Don’t start a company that fleeces people out of their life savings”? Out of curiosity, I looked at Belfort’s website. On the home page, it says:
- Right From The Smash Blockbuster Movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”…
THE STRAIGHT LINE PERSUASION SYSTEM
REAL PROFITS FOR YOU… OR HOLLYWOOD MYTH?
Can You Really Use The Wolf of Wall Street’s Sales Tactics To Ethically Persuade People And Make Money?
So, Belfort is using his criminal past to promote his motivational business. How ethical.
According to the above-mentioned L.A. Weekly article:
- Five years ago, the Weekly accompanied Belfort to one of his first speaking gigs, with the Young Entrepreneurs of Los Angeles. During the Q&A following his talk, Belfort had a stock answer whenever anyone questioned the morality of what he had done to his investors. “Hey, at least no one got killed,” he said several times.
At least no one got killed. That’s how low the bar is set in the business world.