Ray Dalio didn’t write a gossip column, he wrote a column about gossip on LinkedIn that has pundits scratching their heads. His Tuesday post, (given the “thumbs up” by more than 800 people) said that, “We now have trials by gossip and that’s threatening to our well-being.” With almost 630,000 followers on the popular career networking site, the Bridgewater Associates hedge fund founder has become a thought leader.
The vagueness of the post has some wondering what it involves, and whether it has anything to do with the $1 million settlement reported by the Wall Street Journal, paid to a female employee who was allegedly pushed out of Bridgewater after having a consensual sexual relationship with her mentor, top executive Greg Jensen, who was groomed by Dalio to be his successor. A Bridgewater spokesman said the story was “an uninformed misrepresentation” and Jensen said it was “inaccurate and salacious,” also reported by the Wall Street Journal.
“The legal system passes judgement on people and hands out punishments based on definitions of unacceptable behaviors, it specifies the punishments that fit the crime, it does so by having both sides present evidence about what happened and how that fits with the law, and it reaches judgements using unbiased parties (or at least it does these things so that most of us believe that the legal system is by and large just). Trials by gossip do none of these things,” wrote Dalio in his post, adding, “While gossiping might be entertaining like watching soap operas, it leaves us judging and sentencing people without truth and justice.”
A spokeswoman for Dalio told CIO the post was “in response to all such things for a long time rather than to anything that happened lately.”
Dalio has long taken a strong stance on gossip. Among his famed principals, recently published and informally known as the rulebook of Bridgewater, No. 11 says: “Never say anything about a person you wouldn’t say to him directly. If you do, you are a slimy weasel.”