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Billionaire Michael Steinhardt accused of sexual harassment in NYT report

Key Points
  • Six women accuse billionaire Michael Steinhardt of sexual harassment in a New York Times report.
  • The former hedge fund founder denies touching anyone inappropriately.
  • Institutions with ties to Steinhardt said they are monitoring the situation or conducting reviews.
Michael Steinhardt
Scott Eells | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Six women accused New York billionaire Michael Steinhardt of sexual harassment in a New York Times report published Thursday.

The Times report, which also cited a lawsuit filed by another woman, alleged that the former hedge fund founder made sexual requests when the women sought support from the philanthropist. The Times also reported that Steinhardt appeared in two sexual harassment lawsuits, but was not named as a defendant in either case.

The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life called the Times report "intentionally defamatory." In a statement on its website, the foundation said, however, Steinhardt's "sense of humor can be insensitive, and he has apologized for the unintended bad feelings his remarks have caused." The website includes a statement from the billionaire, who denies ever trying to touch anyone inappropriately.

Following the Times report, New York University said in a statement to CNBC it is reviewing Steinhardt's interactions with its community members. NYU said it has appreciated his generous support, but found the allegations in the Times "troubling and out-of-step with appropriate standards of conduct."

Steinhardt also serves as the chairman of the board of WisdomTree Investments. The firm said it is monitoring the situation and "will take appropriate actions as we see fit," citing its "policies in place focused on ensuring a safe, respectful work environment."

Below is Steinhardt's full statement in response to the Times report:

"In my nearly 80 years on earth I have never tried to touch any woman or man inappropriately. As I have said before, I deeply regret cavalierly making comments in professional settings that were boorish, disrespectful and just plain dumb. They were part of my shtick since before I had a penny to my name, and I unequivocally meant them in jest. I fully understand why they were inappropriate. I am sorry. I never intended to cause any embarrassment, discomfort or pain."

"There's no dispute that my attempts at humor could be provocative. As an example, it's well known that I would often say at events with young people, 'Look around, if any of you who are here now marry each other I will give you a free honeymoon on a Caribbean Island.' And I gave 30 or 40 honeymoons. It was a conspicuous pattern. I hope my inappropriate banter, which was always meant in a lighthearted way, does not now become twisted into being something it is not."

Read the full story from the New York Times.

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