As the markets remain embroiled in the GameStonks controversy, where several Redditors banded together to short-squeeze video game retailer, GameStop, one former financial exec turned convicted felon, turned inspiration for one of Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar-nominated roles, has spoken out, egging on these novice investors in their pursuits -- real-life "Wolf of Wall Street," Jordan Belfort. On Monday, the formerly-incarcerated stockbroker, portrayed by DiCaprio in 2013's The Wolf of Wall Street, shared a message of "love, respect, support" and "encouragement" for market-minded Redditors, recreating the film's iconic "I'm not fucking leaving" scene, which depicts Belfort boldly recanting his choice to resign from Stratton Oakmont.
"For years, I've been telling you guys to never take no for an answer, right? To never stop trading, to hold the line, to keep squeezing the fucking testicles of those dastardly short-sellers until you get what you want because you all deserve it. To never stop squeezing them by the balls until they're forced to either buy to die," Belfort says in the video, entitled "We are not F***ing Leaving (GAMESTOP)." "And now, this shit that Robinhood is pulling on us now, stopping us from trading, barring us from their platform, our home, the home that we built, what the fuck is that, you know? Well, I'll tell you what it is. It's Wall Street, it's the hedge funds, it's fucking Robinhood being fucking hypocrites. That's what it is. It's them trying to squash us the little guy, to put us all back in our places, instead of the other way around like we've been doing to them."
Belfort, who was once notably far-off from being a 'little guy' in the world of finance, then recites an altered version of the scene's most famous lines: "So, you know what Wall Street? you know what Robinhood, we're not leaving. We're not leaving. WE"RE NOT FUCKING LEAVING!" he yells, a statement punctuated by intercut clips of the film's "Stratton-ites" violently cheering at DiCaprio's original monologue.
"The show goes on! This is our home! They're gonna need a fucking wrecking ball to take us out of here! They're gonna have to send in the National Guard and fucking SWAT teams, because we ain't going nowhere! Fuck them!" Belfort screams, before, of course, aggressively kicking off a round of the movie's iconic money chant, echoed by the film's extras, notably missing Matthew McConaughey, the hum's creator.
Since being uploaded to the video-sharing site on Monday, the clip was quickly cross-posted to r/WallStreetBetsELITE to mixed reviews. As some commended the timely "epic" recreation, several other users were skeptical, citing Belfort's highly-publicized 1999 guilty plea on charges of money laundering and securities fraud, as detailed in the biopic. "Fuck Jordan Belfort and anyone that likes him," wrote u/Helllllothereeee "He is a crook that defrauded people. We're not. And no, he didn't just defraud rich people." Commenter u/QuBoudica echoed this sour sentiment "This is one of the douchiest videos I've ever seen," they added.
Arguably emphasizing Belfort's public image as the ultimate skeevy finance bro, as u/QuBoudica pointed out, this video may not be entirely serious and even potentially a part of a Cameo -- a.k.a. a fan-commissioned video -- according to Twitter user @danielsinger.
Furthermore, the clip seemingly contradicts several statements the former trader has made as GameStonk dominated the headlines. Over the past week, Belfort has stayed generally consistent in his messaging, urging investors to proceed with caution while navigating this strange market occurrence. "It's shocking, really amazing, and gratifying to see a little bit of the pain going on the side of the hedge funds," Belfort explained to Sky News last week. "The hedge funds have been beating up little investors since the beginning of time pretty much."
Despite this excitement, Belfort says it's still important Redditors playing the market remain vigilant, warning that hedge funds will halt these small-investor-led trends. "While this will be short-lived ... everyone's got to be really careful because it's going to be like catching a falling knife when it unravels," he said. "The danger is that Wall Street and hedge funds especially are experts at identifying what we call 'inefficiencies in the market. This is an inefficiency in the market right now and they will look to close that inefficiency very quickly."
Aside from the financial implications, Belfort, who served 22 months in jail following his fraud conviction, says he's unsure of whether these money moves are legal "It's truly a modified pump and dump because, at the end of the day, it will most certainly go back down because it's not trading on any rational, fundamental value," Belfort explained to CNN Business. "Just remember, every time the market goes up, GameStop goes up, it's going to be harder and harder to make that next move up because the market cap is just not sustainable. So, at a certain point, someone has to be crossing out the people who are selling and moving on to the next one."
Despite its questionable legality, Belfort maintains that "there is some sort of loose crime going on," although it will be "very tough" to prove. "If you could prove that they are actually colluding together, then that would be illegal," he noted. "The problem is it is sort of this loose collision where one person says 'Let's stick together and stay strong.' And theoretically, that's illegal. But I doubt that the [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] would try to make a case out of something like that." In other words, it seems these novice traders -- much unlike himself -- may not have to be too concerned about the wrath of the SEC for crimes they may or may not be committing.
So, folks, although the IRL Wolf of Wall Street's intentions with his latest YouTube clip may be opaque, he's far from the first person to troll the entire securities industry over the past week. Happy trading, friends, and remember -- don't go to prison!