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Editor’s note: This story contains tweets with language some readers might find offensive.
It’s the stock story gripping the country: an army of amateur investors in a Reddit chatroom are battling it out with professional Wall Street investors, sending shares of retailer GameStop sharply higher.
And it’s leading a wide cast of celebrities and politicians to weigh in, on Twitter, of course.
One of the most discussed is arguably Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, who egged on the Redditors as GameStop shares surged. Those share gains delivered hefty losses to hedge funds shorting the stock.
u can’t sell houses u don’t own
u can’t sell cars u don’t own
u *can* sell stock u don’t own!?
this is bs – shorting is a scam
legal only for vestigial reasons
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 28, 2021
Stephen Colbert seemed to be keeping an eye on the hedge funds as well.
Hedge funds are complaining about losing billions on GameStop, which means it’s a good time to invest in whatever company makes the world’s tiniest violins.
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) January 29, 2021
But things really started getting heated after online brokerages such as Robinhood imposed trading restrictions on GameStop shares.
That decision was hotly contested. Comedian Jon Stewart, who avoided Twitter for the entire Trump presidency, created an account on Thursday and weighed in.
This is bullshit. The Redditors aren’t cheating, they’re joining a party Wall Street insiders have been enjoying for years. Don’t shut them down…maybe sue them for copyright infringement instead!!
We’ve learned nothing from 2008.
— Jon Stewart (@jon_actual) January 28, 2021
The actions taken by Robinhood and others also prompted outrage among lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., a progressive political star. And as it turns out, even Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, agreed.
But Cruz’s nod wasn’t enough to bring the two together. Ocasio-Cortez sharply responded to Cruz in a tweet, saying “you almost had me murdered.”
She was referring to the Trump-supporting mob that breached the Capitol earlier this month. Cruz had been one of the lawmakers who sought to contest the election of President Biden.
Cruz has condemned the rioters while defending his stance on the election.
I am happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there’s common ground, but you almost had me murdered 3 weeks ago so you can sit this one out.
Happy to work w/ almost any other GOP that aren’t trying to get me killed.
In the meantime if you want to help, you can resign. https://t.co/4mVREbaqqm
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 28, 2021
And then there are the accidental bystanders. The World Wide Robin Hood Society in the U.K., an organization dedicated to promoting the actual Robin Hood, gained about 40,000 followers, apparently after it was mistaken for the the account of the brokerage itself.
Lovely to have all these new followers .. can we just check that you know that you’re following The World Wide Robin Hood Society in Nottingham and not the Robin Hood App .. if so .. a big welcome from Sherwood 🙌
— Robin Hood (@robinhood) January 28, 2021
Claire Miller is an intern on the NPR Business Desk.