Contact Us

Sam Zell Out As Mizuho Keynote Speaker After Vulgar #MeToo Remark

Sam Zell has begun to face backlash over the insensitive comments he made about women in the commercial real estate profession and the #MeToo movement at NAREIT's REITWeek earlier this month.

Sam Zell at NYU's Schack Institute of Real Estate's REIT symposium in 2017.

The Equity Commonwealth chairman has been removed as a keynote speaker from an upcoming event held by Mizuho Americas, a subsidiary of Mizuho Securities, Bloomberg reports. A spokesperson for Equity said Zell was no longer attending due to a scheduling conflict.

In an on-stage conversation with NAREIT CEO Steven Wechsler at a REITWeek event on June 6, Zell referenced the increased scrutiny of gender politics in the workplace, saying he has never considered gender when hiring or promoting women.

"I don't think there's ever been a, 'We've gotta get more pussy on the block, OK?'" Zell said at REITWeek. He later apologized to NAREIT, according to Bloomberg.

Mizuho took Zell off the schedule in response to that statement, according to Bloomberg. Zell also reportedly made a similarly sexist comment during a speaking engagement at the University of Pennsylvania in April when Politico reported that he said, "Argentina is like a beautiful woman; her greatest asset is a man's imagination."

It has only been two weeks since Zell's NAREIT comments as of this article's publication. With the #MeToo movement ongoing, it remains to be seen if Zell will face more fallout from his comments.