Paul Tudor Jones Apologizes for Controversial Comments About Working Mothers

Billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, head of Tudor Investment Corp. and founder of charitable organization the Robin Hood Foundation, found himself in hot water last week after he told an audience at the University of Virginia that he thinks it’s difficult for mothers to be successful macro-traders because having a baby is such a distraction for women, calling motherhood a “killer” of the desire to trade.

If that weren’t cringe-worthy enough, his word choice was even more unfortunate: “As soon as that baby’s lips touched that girl’s bosom,” he said, “forget it.” Yikes.

After social media and the blogosphere erupted with angry responses and heated debates, Jones released the following statement last Friday, which explains that he did not intend to make a blanket statement about working mothers, and — as mea-culpas given in response to cries of chauvinism often do — assures the public that he has real human relationships with living, breathing females by reminding us that he has three daughters:

As I’ve told my three daughters, all of whom I’ve at one time encouraged to go into macro trading, any man or woman can do anything to which they set their heart and mind.

My off the cuff remarks at the University of Virginia were with regard to global macro traders, who are on-call 24/7 and of whom there are likely less than a thousand successful practitioners in the world today. Macro trading requires a high degree of skill, focus and repetition. And there is no more important time for skill acquisition than the first ten formative years of a young person’s career. Life events, such as birth, divorce, death of a loved one and other emotional highs and lows are obstacles to success in this specific field of finance but pass with time.

I believe that great success is possible in any field – from music to mathematics to macro trading – as long as a woman or man has the skill, passion, and repetitions to work through the inevitable life events that arise along the way.

Much of my adult life has been spent fighting for equal opportunity and the idea that I would support limiting opportunity for any segment of society, particularly women, is antithetical to who I am and what I have done. My remarks offended, and I am sorry.

While his initial remarks were undeniably offensive, it really does seem to us that he didn’t quite mean it the way it sounded — but as everyone in the PR game is well aware, the way something is intended is virtually meaningless if that is not the way it is received. It may be a while before the recently-created Twitter hastag #PaulTudorJones is accompanied by tweets related to anything but working mothers and gender equality.