A few weeks ago, John Thomas Financial CEO Thomas Belesis demanded respect for a group of people, the denizens of Wall Street, who, while labeled “different” from the rest of society because of their alternative professions, are still human beings who deserve to be treated fairly. Belesi did so by organizing a rally on his firm’s trading floor attended almost exclusively by the people whose desks are there. He mostly spoke in broad terms, since this was the first event of its kind, and the organizers just wanted to get their name and cause out there. But now, let us get down to specifics. Wall Streeters should not be ashamed of what they do, or try to hide it behind closed doors for fear of judgment or backlash. For instance, before JB started JTF, he worked at place where strippers danced regularly on the trading floor, labia rings were sniffed, breasts were used as napkins, and junior employees mopped up their boss’s jizz. But outside the halls of the firm, no one was allowed to talk about it. And not only that, but people actually got in trouble with the law for this sort of thing! And if you’re Thomas Belesis, you’re probably thinkin’ “that ain’t right.”
Lew Lieberbaum is probably the best-known of Belesis’s former employers, thanks to a 1997 federal suit brought against it by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in which various female employees testified to having been subjected to a degrading work environment. The “daily torrent and virtual hailstorm of sexual harassment” on the trading floor has been documented in a 50-page complaint and gobsmacked media reports. Lesbian strippers were allegedly a regular fixture on the trading floor, and one dancer was asked to remove her labia ring so male employees could petition female employees to sniff it. Brokers were allegedly assigned to mop up the whipped cream and bodily fluids resulting from an exec’s midday frolic with his secretary. A female employee said that refusing a male superior’s sexual demands was grounds for termination; men regularly wiped food-covered hands on women’s breasts; a junior partner was said to have sometimes picked his nose and then rammed his finger into female brokers’ sandwiches. The complaint resulted in a $1.75 million settlement — and sparked related cases.