In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, AIG CEO Robert Benmosche said that public outrage over the company’s executive bonuses is “sort of like” lynching Black people in the Deep South, reports CNN Money.
According to Benmosche, criticism of the bonuses “was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that – sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.”
Further wallowing in white privilege and laughable victimization, Benmosche cried that they had to pay out the bonuses or else employees would have left AIG:
“We wouldn’t be here today had they not stayed and accepted … dramatically reduced pay,” he told WSJ. “They really contributed an enormous amount [to AIG’s survival] and proved to the world they are good people. It is a shame we put them through that.”
Benmosche later walked back his statement, saying, “It was a poor choice of words. I never meant to offend anyone by it.”
AIG was rescued by the Federal Reserve in the days following the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008. Benmosche did not become CEO until nearly a year later.
He was immediately controversial, negotiating a pay package with a base salary of $3 million a year, along with bonuses and options of up to $10.5 million. Immediately after starting the job he took a two-week vacation to his summer house in Croatia and requested use of AIG corporate jets for personal travel. And he was vocal in his defense of AIG’s pay policies and his criticism of Congressional oversight.