The Real Deal New York

Sam Zell removed as conference’s keynote speaker after vulgar comment about women: report

He's no longer attending Mizuho Americas' event
June 19, 2018 09:24AM

Sam Zell (Credit: Getty Images)

Sam Zell won’t be a keynote speaker at Mizuho Americas’ conference this month following the billionaire’s highly publicized comments about women.

Zell was expected to speak at the Mizuho global REIT and real estate conference next week but is no longer on the schedule. His invitation was revoked after he made a vulgar comment at the REITweek investor conference earlier this month, Bloomberg reported.

A representative for Zell at Equity Group Investments indicated that he canceled his trip to New York due to a scheduling conflict.

While speaking about gender diversity at the REITweek event, Zell said he promotes women based on merit and added: “I don’t think there’s ever been a, ‘We gotta get more pussy on the block, OK?’”

He subsequently apologized to the conference’s organizers. Soon after, however, news of another offensive comment surfaced. At an event in April, Zell said, “Argentina is like a beautiful woman — her greatest asset is a man’s imagination,” Politico reported, based on the account of one of the panel’s attendees.

The backlash for the comments comes as the #MeToo and “Time’s up” movements bring more attention to gender-based discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The Real Deal examined the gender gap in real estate in a cover story in January 2018. [Bloomberg] — Kathryn Brenzel