"We apologize to anyone who was offended," Meghan McAndrew, a spokeswoman for the asset manager, said in an email. "Very simply, Federated does not condone and will not tolerate unprofessional conduct of any kind. Federated seeks to treat all employees, clients, shareholders, viewers and our fellow human beings with dignity and respect."
The incidents occurred Dec. 20 as Linda Duessel, a Federated senior equities strategist, was being interviewed from the company's Pittsburgh offices about Federal Reserve policies. As she spoke, a man behind her right shoulder made an "OK" hand gesture that anti-hate groups say has been appropriated by right and far-right political groups, including white supremacists. Later, an image of what appears to be a shirtless Russian President Vladimir Putin on horseback is displayed on a computer screen. Ms. Duessel was unaware of the activities occurring behind her.
"After we became aware of the conduct, we conducted an internal investigation of the incident and as a result the individuals involved are no longer with the firm," Ms. McAndrew said.