Things have, shall we say, deteriorated quickly for Leon Black. The story of the Apollo Global Management co-founder’s unfortunate relationship with the execrable Jeffrey Epstein has gone from “nothing to see here” to “alright so maybe there are 75 million things to see that these goddamned yellow journalists insist on continuing to bring up but no one cares, really” to “OK so maybe people do care but we’re looking into it (again)” to “if you’re gonna stop investing with people who hung out with a known pedophile you’re gonna have a hard time finding anyone to take your money” to The Wall Street Journal literally looking right past him in a matter of weeks.

[Josh] Harris, a 55-year-old billionaire, faces a new challenge: Trying to revamp the firm’s cutthroat culture and rough-edged image, which has long been seen as synonymous with the men who founded it 30 years ago. He is trying to modernize its corporate structure, creating a broader shared power arrangement that could one day form the basis of a succession plan. And he’s trying to move past the firm’s reputation for using sharp elbows to pursue profits at all costs.

Recently, the task of scrubbing up Apollo’s image has been made more difficult as its co-founder and most recognizable personality, Chief Executive Leon Black, has found himself under scrutiny for his relationship with late financier Jeffrey Epstein….

Still, there’s one place where Black can go to find solace, acceptance and unconditional support: the trustees’ room at the Museum of Modern Art, which he’s led since 2018. After all, these are people who undoubtedly do not wish to jeopardize their status as likely future home to one of the world’s great masterpieces, and anyway have already forgiven Black for some pretty significant misjudgments and breaches of good taste.

A second trustee said, “The news about Leon and Epstein is a bit surprising,” before predicting that the museum’s stewards will let the scandal “play out.”

“I suppose for the moment people [MoMA trustees] will not do anything. I think it will play itself out in the press and in investigations,” the trustee said.

When Black took over the MoMA chairman role in 2018, he vowed to not cause trouble and live up to his predecessor, real estate mogul Jerry Speyer, sources said. Black even put the promise to song in July 2018 in the form of a rap he performed for his new art pals at the palatial, Renaissance-styled four-story townhouse he owns on 19 East 70th St., a former art gallery itself….

“You know we’ve been so lucky to entrust it with Speyer; you know that dude builds things higher and higher,” Black sang.

Some of the MoMA trustees exchanged glances, not knowing what to think as the song continued. A few sang along, a source said.

“And you know when Leon’s in charge, you know he’ll keep us from disasters, ‘cause that guy keeps up with all the modern masters.

“MoMA.

“Dali. O’Keefe and Mark Rothko.

“MoMA.

“Oldenburg, Kusama and Velasco.

“MoMA.

“We need you to tell us the truth.

“MoMA.

“For the world you’re like a fountain of youth,” he belted out, according to sources and a lyrics sheet reviewed by The Post.

“He was really into it and was enjoying the spotlight,” one attendee told The Post, adding that the lyrics now seem ironic as Black is hardly keeping MoMA clear of trouble.

Well, if the city’s cultural and financial elite can forgive him causing them that embarrassment, as well as whatever crimes against canapes he’s committed in their presence, surely he can survive this without too many Screams.

MoMA supporting its rapping chairman despite ties to Epstein [N.Y. Post]
A $433 Billion Wall Street Giant Has a Reputation Problem. It’s Josh Harris’s Job to Fix It. [WSJ]

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