billionaire Ken Griffin freaks out ahead of Friday film release

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By Dan Sears

Ken Griffin has a few bones to pick when it comes to “Dumb Money” – among them the way the star-studded flick depicts his habits when it comes to expensive art.

On the positive side, attorneys for the Miami-based hedge-fund titan said they “appreciate artistic endeavors.” They applauded the casting of “Parks & Recreation” star Nick Offerman to play Griffin as “inspired.”

On the other hand, the idea that “Ken purchased paintings by de Kooning and Picasso to keep them away from Steve Cohen” – the hedge-fund mogul who owns the New York Mets – was totally wrong, Griffin’s lawyers wrote to the legal team for Sony Pictures last month.

“In fact, it was a de Kooning and a Jackson Pollock, which he bought for reasons having nothing to do with Steve Cohen (clearly someone did not do their research),” according to one letter obtained by On The Money.

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The film, based on the book “The Antisocial Network” by Ben Mezrich, focuses on the retail traders who banded together on Reddit’s Wall Street Bets page to push shares of GameStop higher and squeeze the hedge funds shorting the stock.


Ken Griffin, Nick Offerman and GameStop logo
Ken Griffin, left, is played in the film by Nick Offerman.
Toni Misthos/Getty Images/iStockphoto

More broadly, Griffin – worth an estimated $35 billion, according to Forbes – was concerned last month that the movie “revives and amplifies this many times debunked collusion narrative” that Citadel and Robinhood worked together to briefly halt trading of GameStop shares, Griffin’s lawyers wrote.

At issue: a scene that depicted Griffin speaking with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev after trading was halted on the Robinhood platform.

In response, sources close to the “Dumb Money” producers – whose movie starring Seth Rogen, Pete Davison, Paul Dano and Shailene Woodley is slated to hit theaters Friday — note that Griffin’s lawyers last month appeared to be working off a script that was more than a year old. A scene depicting a conversation between Griffin and Tenev, they note, isn’t in the final cut.

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In a similar vein, Griffin’s legal team last month raised a complaint that his golfing habits were being grossly overblown by the movie.

“The idea that Ken always wants to be on the golf course when in actuality that is one of the last places you would find him (he plays golf once a year),” according to one letter that was obtained by On The Money.

In fact, the filmmakers never actually shot footage of Griffin golfing, sources said. He is instead depicted as playing tennis.

Puck was first to report news that Griffin was quietly fighting the film. Citadel did not respond to a request for comment. Sony declined to comment.

Other sources close to the film are baffled Griffin has weighed in at all. The crux of the screenplay – written by financial journalists Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo – is about how the little guy can succeed in the markets.

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“The movie really isn’t about him,” a source said. “He assumes he can control everything.”

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