‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Perpetuates Negative Stereotype of Wall Street

Apparently, three movies attacking Wall Street wasn’t enough. Hollywood’s made another anti-capitalist film to be released November 15. The biopic of former Wall Street stockbroker, Jordan Belfort, who is also a conman, stars known liberal actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The “Titanic” star is a well-known environmental activist and has donated more than $40,000 to Obama’s two presidential campaigns.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is based on a memoir of the same name. In the book, Jordan Belfort described his life as a stockbroker who worked the system to lead a lavish lifestyle filled with sex, drugs and partying before he was jailed for fraud and money laundering. The dark comedy by Martin Scorsese, stars DiCaprio as the sleazy Belfort. The trailer portrays his daily life as glamorous and exciting while at the same time, poking fun at Belfort for his over-the-top lifestyle.

The trailer opens with DiCaprio throwing a half-empty glass in the bushes, tossing money at FBI agents, and smugly quipping, “The year I turned 26, I made $49 million, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week.” It goes on to show DiCaprio as flippantly excusing his crimes while leading every college frat-boy’s dream life of partying, scantily clad women and a never-ending supply of alcohol and drugs.

The star and his role certainly have the money in common. According to Celebrity Net Worth, DiCaprio’s wealth is valued at $200 million.

The three films released before this all shared the same pro-“Occupy Wall Street” theme. “Now You See Me” portrayed Wall Street businessmen as thieves; “The East” was about anarchists that punish corporate CEOs and “force them to consume the harmful products they manufacture”; and “Assault on Wall Street” is also a revenge film about a vigilante taking out violent justice on greedy bankers.

Portraying Wall Street businessmen as criminals isn’t new for Hollywood. While in this case, the story was true, Hollywood has a habit of creating a negative stereotype for everyone who works on Wall Street, after the media praised and created a false narrative of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Add this film to Hollywood’s agenda of demonizing anyone who makes as much money as they do.

Kristine Marsh
Kristine Marsh
Kristine Marsh is a staff writer/analyst for the Media Research Center's Culture and Media Institute.