November 14, 2013
When a recent tweet from JPMorgan Chase invited Twitter users to participate in a Q-and-A session with its vice chairman tonight, the response was a deluge of angry and sarcastic remarks about the Wall Street bank’s business practices — a backlash that prompted the company to cancel its “#AskJPM” event.
As Al Jazeera America reports, JPMorgan has been embroiled in a series of recent scandals, including accusations of manipulating electricity prices in Texas, a $920 million settlement over losses caused by its trader dubbed the “London Whale,” and the bank’s tentative $13 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over mortgage policies.
The debacle revealed the animosity that many still feel toward big banks over the 2008 financial crisis, which was largely triggered by lenders dealing in complex securities backed by sub-prime home loans. Responding to JPMorgan’s invitation on Twitter, commenters reportedly used epithets like “scumbags” and “criminals,” and asked biting rhetorical questions. “What section of the poor & disenfranchised have you yet to exploit for profit?” tweeted Alexis Goldstein, communications director for The Other 98%, a nonprofit organization that advocates alternative economic policies.
Despite the range of official accusations it has faced, JPMorgan apparently was unprepared for the storm of public anger. “Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled,” the bank’s Twitter feed read. “Bad idea. Back to the drawing board.” — Greg Beaubien