Giving financial advice, especially on TV, is more dangerous than you might think.
CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer appeared on the April 3 “Squawk Box” and claimed he has received “a lot of death threats.” He blamed it on the way he critiqued certain stocks which triggered angry and sometimes over-the-top emotions.
“You know, look, obviously I’ve had a lot of death threats,” Cramer said. “They’re actual death threats. And, you go to the state police and the state police go to the local police and the local police call the guy and that’s what you have to do, or you bring suit against them. I’ve had to do a lot of that.”
Cramer emphasized his active response to anyone who threatened his life.
“You know, the death threats are not cool,” Cramer said. “You know, anybody with a death threat, I go after them with everything I have.”
“Squawk Box” co-anchor Joe Kernan told viewers he had gotten negative feedback also, but was in disbelief that people on the street might act in that manner.
“The ones that are like that, I say, ‘God, I hope you’re on the prison PC or you’re in your parent’s basement, hopefully not in
Cramer blamed the spotlight and said that attracted people with a “stalking personality.”
“There are people who just go overboard,” Cramer said. “They’re people who stalk [David] Letterman. They are people with a stalking personality and they go after people who are on TV.”
Cramer and Kernan were discussing the common stock of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE: WFR) on the show. Cramer used that stock and Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN) as examples of how his criticisms of particular stocks might lead to an extreme emotional response as such as a death threat.
“You own Wafer, WFR; you own MEMC – we’re saying negative things about it, right,” Cramer said. “There’s someone out there saying, 'Wait a second, it’s not nearly as bad. Garmin – wait a second, that Joe just said he doesn’t like Garmin. Well you know what, I own Garmin, to heck with Joe.’ And that’s how it spirals.”
Cramer was much criticized by another stock commentary recently. Just days prior to the Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC) takeover by JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Cramer told his March 11 “Mad Money” audience Bear Stearns was fine and not to move your money from the investment bank. On the news of the takeover on March 17 the JPMorgan was getting Bear Stearns for $2 a share, the stock plummeted over 80 percent at the open of the exchange floor. Cramer clarified his statement to say he mean the bank itself, not its common stock. But he was still lampooned on “The Daily Show.”