Well, this one is a doozy.
According to a report from Business Insider, DE Shaw managing director Daniel Michalow was fired from the firm after an internal investigation prompted by complaints from several female subordinates about his behavior. As in keeping with the self-celebrated culture of creativity and collaboration that DE Shaw has always said defines the heart and soul of DE Shaw, it appears that Michalow's douchey office persona was - allegedly - hilariously specific:
The investigation was sparked after Michalow allegedly said to a former assistant that one of the requirements for hiring a new assistant was someone that he could "call sugar tits," people familiar with the matter told Business Insider.
While this is a very dumb thing to say out loud in an office during the last thirty-odd-years, we are sure that Michalow had a pretty good excuse for it...
Michalow maintains that the remarks that launched the initial investigation were a joke and that he was quoting actor Mel Gibson, according to a person close to Michalow.
Oof. "I was doing my Mel Gibson impression" is somewhere on the excuse scale between "I was obviously kidding, I'm famously an ass man" and "I can also call a chubby dude 'Sugar Tits.'" But Michalow doesn't even seem to want to argue that he is the kind of guy who impersonates notoriously bigoted celebs in the office. In fact, in a [now open] letter to DE Shaw founder David Shaw, Michalow admits to being something of an intolerable asshat, but also sees his sexual behavior as pretty vanilla and innocent compared to the drunken bonkfest that is DE Shaw HQ.
After proclaiming his innocence of all sexual harassment charges (Michalow also says that he was told by DE Shaw colleagues handling his investigation that he was innocent), Michalow moves on to alert Shaw to some of the filthy tomfoolery going on at his fund:
Consider, for example, the Firm’s “policy” on dating: [REDACTED]
As you may know, many employees, including senior management, have availed themselves of this “policy.” As everyone knows, an executive committee member had a relationship with his junior trader while they were both employed at the firm (and the fact that they ultimately stayed together doesn’t necessarily make it right). My predecessor in the Macro group was in a relationship with his female report for years. There are many, many stories of employees hooking up over the years after the company’s lavish, alcohol-filled parties.
And in the off-chance that Shaw wanted details on this, Michalow has them...in spades:
A culture is set not just by its official policies but, even more importantly, by the actions and practices of its most senior members. I have mentioned some specific examples and offer just a few more here to illustrate my point:
● My first introduction to the wild side of the DE Shaw culture was early on. At the first bonus night after I joined the firm, following a party where everyone got completely drunk, I was invited by a group that included fairly senior executives to go to a strip club.
● The group I was in at the time had an extremely sloppy group dinner at Sammy’s Roumanian, organized by an MD, where everyone got so drunk that a handful of employees forgot articles of clothing at the restaurant.
● On my first bonus night after moving to the Macro group, a group that included an Executive Committee member and another Managing Director -- both male and female employees -- ended up at The Box. We drank and watched women dance topless on stage and perform the debaucherous acts that the place is famous for.
● An MD repeatedly sent text messages with inappropriate sexual images during different meetings.
● On another trip to a strip club (where I was not present), it was reported that one employee received oral sex from another employee.
● The company continues to host themed happy hours with free-flowing alcohol even after similar kinds of events led to at least one incident of inappropriate sexual behavior for which an employee was rightly terminated.
● Senior executives have spoken openly about drug use.
● An MD sent many many emails that had sexualized versions of words such as “possibilititty.”
Of course there's a possibilititty that Michalow is trying to set fire to the people who wronged him and leave chaos in his wake, but we prefer to just sit back and admire the allegation that DE Shaw is an endless booze-fueled orgy that invests in its spare time.
We look forward to learning more about all of this.