, Marc Faber Blog: Marc Faber Won't Apologize for Recent "Racist" Comments, Doubles Down

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Marc Faber Won't Apologize for Recent "Racist" Comments, Doubles Down

Prominent business newsletter writer Marc Faber stood by racist remarks he made this week that led to his dismissal from several corporate boards, justifying them on freedom-of-speech grounds.

On Tuesday, three well-known publicly traded Canadian companies promptly dismissed Mr. Faber, a Thailand-based investor and publisher of a well-read investment newsletter, from their boards, after the publication of his latest Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, which contained the statements: "Thank God white people populated America and not the blacks," and "at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority."

The remarks went viral, causing widespread outrage, with commentators blasting Mr. Faber for his insensitivity and blatant racism. Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., which was one of the companies that sacked Mr. Faber, said in a release on Tuesday it "deplores" his views about race. U.S. business television networks also distanced themselves from Mr. Faber, with CNBC, Fox and Bloomberg stating he is no longer welcome as a guest.

He isn't likely to pop up any time soon on Canadian business television either.

"Mr. Faber will not be appearing on BNN in the future," said a Bell Media spokesperson in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.

In the face of all of this backlash, Mr. Faber is standing by his remarks. In a series of e-mailed answers to The Globe, Mr. Faber said he did not regret his comments about race, and would not change a word of his missive, citing freedom of speech rights.

"Why should I regret stating historic facts?" he wrote.

When asked if he knew in advance that that the publication of his commentary would result in him being fired from corporate boards, he replied; "If saying what I said leads to these consequences I prefer not to be on these boards."

"I think the corporate world is now run by compliance people. In this context I understand their firing me," he added.

In addition to Ivanhoe, Sprott Inc. and NovaGold also cut ties with Mr. Faber on Tuesday. He also confirmed to The Globe that U.S-based Sunshine Silver Mining Corp. and Vietnam Growth Fund have also let him go.

"One CEO stated that I must have been on some drugs when I wrote my Gloom Boom & Doom report," wrote Mr. Faber, who doesn't recall which CEO make that remark.

"Since I have only taken cocaine three times and marijuana about ten times in seventy years, I did not think these were appropriate comments, " he added.

Richard Leblanc, associate professor of law, governance and ethics at York University, called Mr. Faber's after-the-fact refusal to apologize and the doubling-down on his remarks "very anomalous."

"His reaction is odd," Mr. Leblanc said.

"It actually makes it worse."

Mr. Leblanc says the zeitgeist has changed somewhat since Donald Trump ran an election campaign and subsequently is running a presidency, occasionally based on making derogatory comments, refusing to apologize and then doubling down. Others in the public eye now feel they have "permission" to do likewise, he says, despite corporate boards having no tolerance for such remarks.

Canadian boards in particular are much less forgiving and tolerant than American boards when it comes to off-colour remarks pertaining to race, religion and sexism, Mr. Leblanc says. It's also becoming much more prevalent in North America to do extensive background checks on prospective board members, so as to head off any scandals.

"What you don't want is a situation like this," he says.

"It's an incredible distraction."

As for Mr. Faber, he admits that his comments will cost him economically. The three Canadian board seats alone paid him about $390,000 a year. He is also less likely to be in demand for speaking engagements, and his newsletter, which costs $300 (U.S.) a year per subscriber, may see a decline in popularity, as he will have little or no free exposure any more on business television.

"Economically it will be a huge loss," Mr. Faber said.

"I shall go back to being a waiter."