KB Home's CEO will see his year-end bonus cut after being caught on audio Saturday night yelling a string of profanities at comedian Kathy Griffin and her boyfriend.
Jeffrey Mezger, the major builder's chief executive, cursed out his neighbor Griffin in a tirade recorded by security cameras. On Thursday, the board of KB Home announced it will reduce Mezger's bonus this year by 25 percent and, if something like this happens again, the board said it will fire Mezger.
"If in the future there is any similar incident, he will be dismissed," the KB Home board said in a statement.
In audio released by the Huffington Post, Mezger called comedian Kathy Griffin a "f---ing c---," "a b----," an "a--hole" and a "f---ing bald dyke." Security cameras caught Mezger's tirade, the culmination of a series of disputes between the neighbors in a gated community in Los Angeles' upscale Bel Air neighborhood.
Former CNBC host Suze Orman quickly criticized Mezger, saying in a tweet his talk was "disgraceful."
"You really want to buy a home from this man? Beyond disgusting," Orman said.
@SuzeOrmanShow I can't believe this! Disgraceful talk from the CEO of KB HOMES. You really want to buy a home from this man? Beyond Disgusting !
Through a spokesman, Mezger suggested Wednesday that Griffin's history of unjustly nitpicking about noise was partly to blame for his apoplectic rant.
"Though Mr. Mezger does not believe there is any excuse for the language he used, the incident that led to his losing his temper was the result of the culmination of a series of unneighborly actions taken by Ms. Griffin and her boyfriend," said Mezger's spokesman.
Those "actions" consist of up to 10 noise complaints that Griffin and her boyfriend, Randy Bick, have made against Mezger, leading to multiple visits by police, the spokesman said. In one of those cases in which the police showed up, the spokesman said, Mezger's niece, who "has stage 4 cancer" was renewing her marital vows with her husband at the Mezger home.
KB Home shares are down 2.3 percent this week, more than an S&P index of homebuilders, which is lower by 1.3 percent. The homebuilder's shares are still up 31 percent this year under Mezger.