Billionaire Investor Bill Ackman Grilled By Wall Street Executives For Anti-DEI Views: Report

The billionaire investor Bill Ackman faced a severe rebuke from Wall Street executives over his anti-diversity, equity, and inclusion stance at a private session during the Milken Institute Global Conference.

What Happened: At the invite-only panel, Ackman was confronted by around 40 senior executives, including people of color, for his public opposition to DEI initiatives, reported Bloomberg on Friday citing five attendees.

The executives criticized Ackman for his views, which they deemed detrimental to the advancement of women and people of color in the U.S.

According to the report, the discussion lasted for about an hour, with the panelists and audience members expressing their concerns about Ackman’s stance. The event was part of a series on DEI at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

Despite being a vocal critic of DEI, Ackman has been known for his efforts to support diverse talent and businesses. The panelists urged him to reconsider his position, warning that his message could undermine diversity programs across the country.

The conference debate mirrors a wider controversy unfolding throughout corporate America regarding DEI’s role. Remarks from Ackman, Musk, and former President Donald Trump have intensified efforts led by conservative activists aiming to dismantle DEI initiatives in educational institutions, businesses, and organizations.

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Following the session, Ackman released a statement, asking people to consider his previous writings on the matter. He pointed to a post from January, in which he concluded that DEI was not about diversity in its purest form, but rather a political advocacy movement on behalf of certain groups.

"I have written thousands of words about my nuanced views on this important topic. I would ask that people read them to fully understand my perspective," Ackman said.

Why It Matters: The backlash against Ackman’s anti-DEI stance at the Milken Institute Global Conference reflects a broader dispute within corporate America over the role of DEI. This debate has been fueled by comments from influential figures like Mark Cuban, who has argued that diversity provides a competitive edge for companies.

Other prominent figures, such as Elon Musk, have also weighed in on the issue, with Musk criticizing Disney‘s DEI policies as “racist” and “sexist.”

Meanwhile, Ackman’s stance has been consistent, as seen in his support for presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy‘s comments that the U.S. inclusion agenda has created a new form of racism.

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Image Via Wikimedia Commons

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Posted In: NewsEntrepreneurshipGlobalBill AckmanDEIDiversityDonald TrumpElon MuskKaustubh Bagalkote
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