Federated Investors Inc. fired at least two employees for unprofessional conduct last month during a television interview of one of the firm’s money managers.
As the money manager spoke on Bloomberg TV, a man behind her right shoulder made an “OK” hand gesture that anti-hate groups say has been appropriated by right and far-right political groups, including white supremacists. Later, an image of what appeared to be a shirtless Russian President Vladimir Putin on horseback was displayed on a computer screen.
The incidents occurred Dec. 20 as Linda Duessel, a Federated senior equities strategist, was being interviewed from her company’s Pittsburgh offices about Federal Reserve policies. Duessel was unaware of the activities occurring behind her.
“We apologize to anyone who was offended,” Meghan McAndrew, a spokeswoman for the asset manager, said in an email. “Very simply, Federated does not condone and will not tolerate unprofessional conduct of any kind. Federated seeks to treat all employees, clients, shareholders, viewers and our fellow human beings with dignity and respect.”