December 30, 2013
The daughter of a man linked to the discredited financial schemes depicted in Oscar-tipped drama The Wolf of Wall Street has attacked the film’s director, Martin Scorsese, and its star Leonardo DiCaprio, for glamorising a lifestyle of “fun sexcapades and coke binges”.
Christina McDowell, whose father, Tom Prousalis, was a business associate of Jordan Belfort, the titular crooked stockbroker portrayed by DiCaprio in the film, accused her targets of “exacerbating our national obsession with wealth and status and glorifying greed and psychopathic behaviour” in an open letter published in LA Weekly. McDowell, who says she was forced to change her name after discovering her father had stolen her identity to launder money prior to his eventual incarceration for financial fraud, says The Wolf of Wall Street amounts to a “reckless attempt at continuing to pretend that these sorts of schemes are entertaining, even as the country is reeling from yet another round of Wall Street scandals”.
She continues: “Did you think about the cultural message you’d be sending when you decided to make this film? You have successfully aligned yourself with an accomplished criminal, a guy [Belfort] who still hasn’t made full restitution to his victims … And don’t even get me started on the incomprehensible way in which your film degrades women, the misogynistic, ass-backwards message you endorse to younger generations of men.”