Citigroup has decided to cancel an upcoming keynote speech by the increasingly less lovable curmudgeon Ben Stein, Bloomberg reports, over a recent appearance where he cracked a few decades-old jokes said to come across as sexist.
Lynda Villarreal attended the event in question, a March 2 speech in Dallas, and when she learned of Mr. Stein’s planned appearance at a Citibank conference fired off an email to Peter Orszag describing three of the jokes. Mr. Orszag, the former White House budget director and current Citi investment bank VP, heroically forwarded the email and the rest is history. Oh, sorry for the slightly misleading headline — Mr. Stein’s representatives say he’ll still be paid.
Bloomberg doesn’t detail the knee slappers (“One joke was about a wealthy man, his wife and his mistress”), but here’s his opening zinger from a 2008 Microsoft Business Intelligence Conference.
[My sister] called me from Turin, oh no this morning it was Milan, and she said, “Oh I’ve been up, I went sightseeing earlier in the day and I saw this museum and that museum this famous old church, that famous old bridge and now I’m back in the hotel. I’ve done 60 minutes on the treadmill, I’m about to do 30 minutes on the Stairmaster. What have you done?” The meaning of that was, “What have you done, you fat pig?” (puzzled titter)
And I said, “You know what Rachel? I woke up and I looked out my hotel window at the Fairmont and I saw an enormous American flag flying over my hotel and I saw the incredibly, incredibly beautiful water out past the hotel and I got on my knees and I thanked God for waking up in the United States of America (applause) and that’s all the exercise that I need.”
This is his opener. More jokes in that video, probably.