Did Haters Drive One Hedge Fund Manager From Twitter, Or Is He Just Thin-Skinned?

Doug Kass was one of the most prominent and prolific market tweeters. But he left today, driven out by what he claims are “too many haters.”

The braggadocio and paranoia of Wall Street traders has migrated from the trading floor — where groups of men wearing funny jackets and speaking in hand signals has largely given way to electronic delivery systems — to Twitter. But for Doug Kass, the president of the hedge fund Seabreeze Partners and one of the more prominent financial figures on Twitter, it was all a bit too much to handle.

Kass announced today in an email to investors and in an article on TheStreet that he was leaving Twitter. “Unfortunately, there are many haters in the social blogosphere, who, perhaps because of their own issues, drown out the many good people who want a value-added investment experience by learning more and enjoying a healthy dialogue in real time,” wrote Kass, a frequent CNBC guest known for his bearishness, especially on Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, and the US economy.

A scroll through some of his more than 62,000 tweets and the “haters” he faced, however, shows that much of the nasty reactions he got was standard Twitter fare with a particular stock-trading flavor — long on profanity and bizarre references to family members and short on coherence. With two exceptions related to Apple, one concerning a rumored stock split and another questioning the job security of Chief Executive Tim Cook, the Twitter criticism seems wholly justified.

Shout out to Goldbug @dougkass Thanks Dougie, you are the ultimate media hound. I doubled down my GLL for my hedgie thanks to you #gold

— Wurldpiece (@WurldPiece)

Much of the blowback Kass faced on Twitter came in February when he tweeted about a rumor he heard that Apple was going to split its stock. The stock jumped up that day and then Kass tweeted that he was selling off some of his Apple position. Fortune described the subsequent reaction as Kass taking “some heat for what seemed on the face of it to be self-serving manipulation.”

High above the Alps my Gnome is hearing a rumor that Apple will announce a stock split at tomorrow's shareholder meeting. $AAPL

— DougKass (@Douglas Kass)

Apple continues to climb - now up by over $8. I continue to pare back as the rumor seems to be baseless based on current share authorization

— DougKass (@Douglas Kass)

@TraderNewsFeed @DougKass #dougdoesntlie except when he does. The rumor that he started has now been delete from his twitter stream. #crook

— Guinness_kel (@Guinness_Kel)

@TraderNewsFeed @dougkass I'm going to start keeping copies of every damn one of his pronouncements. Straight up fraud. #kassalwayslies.

— Guinness_kel (@Guinness_Kel)

@DougKass pushing your own position with a rumor and then selling into it? What ethics school did you learn that in?

— NorthmanTrader (@TheNorthman)

@DougKass you start rumors, sell on them, then call them baseless? *slow clap*

— benpopper (@Ben Popper)

14. In April, Kass was at it again, passing along a rumor that Apple CEO Tim Cook might be ousted.

From my Gnome, high above the Alps - "Is Apple's Tim Cook... Cooked?" #stockaction $SPy

— DougKass (@Douglas Kass)

ȁc@DougKass: From my Gnome, high above the Alps -"Is Apple's Tim Cook... Cooked?"#stockaction $SPyȁd this is how you make a living? Sad. #sad

— robertmaschio (@robert maschio)

Amazing how hostile Apple Heads are. 1. A dumb rumor mention that Cook might be ousted raises such ire. 2. My Bear Case at $700 caused stir.

— DougKass (@Douglas Kass)

Amazing how you help spread dumb rumor. ȁc@DougKass: Amazing how hostile Apple Heads are to a dumb rumor mention that Cook might be ousted...

— brianrobtsmith (@Brian Smith)

@DougKass You sir are a crook, liar, cheat and the epitimy of what is wrong with our Financial system.

— dskybox (@David Kettle)

One of Kass’s frequent Twitter antagonists was Keith McCullough, the CEO of research firm Hedgeye Risk Management. McCullough regularly went after Kass for his gloomy outlook on the U.S. economy and for not #timestamp(ing) his trades (yes, McCullough uses the hashtag #timestamp regularly). And McCullough was gleeful at Kass’s retreat from the Twitter arena.

Kass triples down on opacity and leaves #Twitter altogether @DougKass

— KeithMcCullough (@Keith McCullough)

You old boys can run, but you cannot hide @DougKass @jimcramer

— KeithMcCullough (@Keith McCullough)

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Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.
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