A hedge fund manager has sparked outrage among Hong Kongers after a video of him licking his finger and then wiping it on a train’s handrail emerged online.
Joel Werner, a chief investment officer at Solitude Capital Management, would later claim that the stunt was merely a video parody. According to Werner, he was trying to make a point on how easy it is to spread fake news amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
— cjayc (@cjaychau2) March 18, 2020
Unfortunately for Werner, Hong Kong residents did not find the so-called parody funny or amusing. Soon after Werner’s ill-advised shtick landed on headlines on major newspapers, he was slammed on social media.
“I’m terrified. It’s been spread all over,” Werner was quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying. “I manage other people’s money. How embarrassing is this?”
MTR Corporation, which oversees the operation of the railway system, reportedly reprimanded Werner’s conduct before filing a police report.
“These acts, which ignore public morality, run counter to Hong Kong society’s determination to fight the epidemic,” MTR said in a statement to Reuters.
Werner then addressed the growing controversy on Facebook with a public apology.
“I made light of the COVID-19 situation in a parody video that was only intended for a handful of friends,” Werner wrote in a public Facebook post. “But I now realize that I shouldn’t have done that. A global pandemic is no laughing matter.”
According to Werner, he had used hand sanitizer before and after touching the pole. He also claimed that he even wiped the pole with hand sanitizer as well.
Werner said his attempt at highlighting how easy it was to fake news has backfired in ways he did not expect.
“I did not want it to be distributed and part of it was about the fact that everyone sends around things that are fake. It’s the great irony,” Werner said.
Feature Image via @cjaychau2