Say what you will about Jordan Belfort, but despite defrauding investors of millions of dollars, he still seems to think of himself as a pretty stand-up guy. The wolf of Wall Street appeared on CNN last night in an interview with Piers Morgan and held his own against a slew of questions.
The interview went over every topic related to The Wolf of Wall Street, from Belfort's interactions with Leonardo DiCaprio to his reaction to the film.
Belfort told Morgan that after seeing the movie for the first time, he was “speechless… in a good way.” He said, “I'd come to terms with my old life. I wrote this book, and that was a cathartic experience for me.”
He added that he wants people to view the film as “controversial more than notorious.” Yes, it glamorizes his lifestyle, but it also shows his downfall. At the end of the movie, viewers see Belfort losing everything and going to jail, and he thinks his life story is well-known enough that people won't try to emulate him. In Belfort's own words, the film is “a cautionary tale.”
That said, he also wants people to walk away from the movie with some positive messages.
“I think there's a lot of great things to glean from the movie. I think that hopefully when people see this, they can say, ‘There are some things in there that, wow, really are inspiring’: starting from nothing, the stuff with selling and motivation. I think that does inspire, and I think it should move people but they need to get it in the context that if you’re not doing it with ethics and integrity, it’s a disaster for yourself and everyone around you.”
Let's recap: Belfort stole millions of dollars from Wall Street investors, wrote a book bragging about his copious amounts of drug use and regular interactions with prostitutes, served some time in jail, and still owes nearly $100 million in retribution. After all that, he decided to make a television appearance calling his life “inspiring,” and he managed to say it with a straight face. No wonder he became a motivational speaker.
Later in the interview, Morgan questioned Belfort about the real effects his actions had on people. Proving once again that everything comes down to money with him, Belfort said it never even occurred to him to apologize to his victims.
“I’ve never really considered it before,” he said. “But I think a better way for me is the next fifteen years to go around the world and continue to speak and do my stuff. All the money that flows in. I think actions speak louder than words. I think by doing what I’m doing here by turning over 100 percent of the profits is probably the most genuine thing I can do.”
Sure, paying back some of the money is a great start, but I think plenty of the victims would also appreciate an apology.