New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is accused of using vulgar, abusive language toward female employees and fostering a culture of sexism at his hedge fund, according to a gender discrimination complaint unsealed and revealed to the New York Times.
The Times reported on the complaint on Tuesday in the latest of a pattern of allegations of sexism against his Point72 Asset Management hedge fund. Cohen purchased the Mets in September in the shadow of separate complaints of hostility toward women at Point72.
Complaint: Abusive ‘tirade,’ vulgar reference to female genitalia
The complaint revealed on Tuesday was filed by former Point72 portfolio manager Sara Vavra, who was fired in October 2019. Vavra accuses Cohen of belittling her in front of her colleagues via an “an abusive, expletive-ridden tirade” while using a derogatory word for a woman’s genitals, per the Times.
Vavra said the alleged verbal abuse continued in a separate incident in front of more colleagues that same day.
From the report:
“Cohen ridiculed me, calling me an ‘idiot’ and incompetent,” she said in the complaint. “He told me that I was ‘wrong about everything.’” She said he added, “I should fire you because you’re so stupid.”
According to the complaint, those incidents occurred in July 2019. She was fired three months later. Vavra filed the complaint in the summer of 2020, and the Times obtained it via a freedom of information request after it was recently unsealed.
Complaint: Tirade part of a pattern for Cohen
Vavra said in the complaint that public verbal attacks continued over the course of several months and accused Cohen of similarly berating female assistants. She also claims that others at the firm engaged in sexist behavior.
Point72 spokeswoman Tiffany Galvin-Cohen denied the accusations from the complaint in a comment to the Times.
“We determined that Ms. Vavra made numerous misrepresentations during her employment about things big and small and the same is true about her complaint, including the particularly offensive accusation that Steve used vulgar language when addressing her,” she said. “Steve emphatically denies making this comment to Ms. Vavra at any time.”
According to Point72, Vavra was fired for “gross misconduct” and violating company policies.
More complaints of sexism toward Cohen
Cohen bought the Mets in the shadow of a separate complaint from Point72 executive Laura Bonner, who described the firm as a “boy’s club” in which men regularly belittled female employees and commented on their body parts. That complaint filed in 2018 and later settled also claimed that women in the company were paid less than their male counterparts.
Point72 denied those claims when they were levied.
Vavra’s complaint was known when MLB approved Cohen’s purchase of the Mets, but its contents had yet to be unsealed. Another Point72 employee Shannon Gitlin filed a gender discrimination complaint last April. The details of that complaint remain confidential.
Cohen’s purchase of the Mets was also under scrutiny because his previous hedge fund SAC Capital pleaded guilty in 2013 to insider trading and paid $1.8 billion in fines.
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