You’ve no doubt heard about the collapse of Bear Stearns, one of the major players involved in this sub-prime mortgage lending crisis that is causing the world’s financial markets to lose billions and necessitating a taxpayer-funded bailout.
Now the Wall Street Journal is trying to equate the Bear Stearn’s CEO’s use of marijuana as a “Nero fiddled while Rome burned” moment.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne fired back Thursday at criticism of his leadership and allegations of inappropriate behavior published in the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal said that during what it described as 10 critical days of the crisis in July, Cayne was playing in a bridge tournament in Nashville, Tenn., without a cell phone or an email device.
The paper also reported that Cayne has sometimes smoked marijuana after bridge tournaments, citing attendees at the tournaments, although the paper did not say whether he did so in Nashville in July.
Cayne denied one specific alleged incident in 2004 that the paper asked about, but it reported that when it asked more generally whether he smoked pot during bridge tournaments or on other occasions, he said he would respond only “to a specific allegation.”
The issue, if any, is that the CEO was out of touch for ten days during a critical juncture for the financial giant. Whether he smokes pot during that time is irrelevant; it makes him no more or less responsible as a CEO.
Imagine if the Journal had said “that Cayne has sometimes drank a scotch on the rocks after bridge tournaments”, wouldn’t that seem a bit of a non-sequitur? Thus, bringing up the marijuana use is just a way of slamming the CEO as an irresponsible dolt.
The Journal owes us an apology for smearing the good name of tokers everywhere. Comparing us to disgraced CEOs is an insult!