One thing we did not expect to hear J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon say is that Occupy Wall Street had "legitimate complaints," especially given that he thinks the financial industry gets victimized when it comes to placing blame for the world's problems. And yet that's just what he said after receiving an Executive of the Year award from the University of Rochester's Simon Graduate School of Business, Marketwatch's Polya Lesova reports. What a surreal scene.
Dimon is far from the first rich person to give some credence to Occupy, but seeing as how protesters literally marched to his door demanding economic justice, he's one of the least likely. Michael Bloomberg once said protesters had legitimate complaints, but he said it as a mayor, not necessarily a billionaire, and in the larger context of "what they're trying to do is take the jobs away from people working in this city." Dimon just said it.
Unfortunately, Dimon either didn't explain what he thought Occupy's legitimate complaints were, or Lesova didn't report them. Whatever he thinks Occupy might be right about, he also thinks it's being unfair -- discriminatory, even. "It was everyone guilty. That’s another form of discrimination," he said. "When things go wrong, finance gets blamed."
But perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised to hear Dimon getting borderline conciliatory about the activists who've injected a much more critical tone about guys like him into the national conversation. He's previously expressed some hurt feelings about being lumped in with the other bad apples: "Acting like everyone who's been successful is bad and because you’re rich you’re bad, I don’t understand it. Sometimes there’s a bad apple, yet we denigrate the whole." Must be tough.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.