Roaring Kitty must testify: Rep Maxine Walters demands GameStop frenzy mastermind give evidence 


The YouTuber known as Roaring Kitty, who became the face of the GameStop stock frenzy, will likely be called to testify at House hearings on market volatility, according to Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters, as state regulators in Massachusetts probe his sideline promoting stocks online.

Keith Gill, 34, placed a huge bet on GameStop shares more than a year ago and shared his ideas about the stock online in the months leading up to the ‘meme stock’ bubble.

After shares of the struggling video game retailer skyrocketed 1,600 percent in January, as small investors inspired by the message board Reddit snapped up the stock to punish hedge funds that bet against it, the bubble collapsed this week, and is down more than 70 percent since Monday. 

‘I want him here,’ said Waters of Gill in an interview on Wednesday with financial news network Cheddar. ‘I have him on my list. They have not confirmed all of my list yet, but I want him.’ 

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that her Thursday meeting with top federal regulators will focus on whether recent market volatility warrants ‘further action.’ 

The YouTuber known as Roaring Kitty, who became the face of the GameStop stock frenzy, will likely be called to testify at House hearings on market volatility

The YouTuber known as Roaring Kitty, who became the face of the GameStop stock frenzy, will likely be called to testify at House hearings on market volatility

'I want him here,' said Rep. Maxine Waters of Gill in an interview on Wednesday. 'I have him on my list. They have not confirmed all of my list yet, but I want him'

‘I want him here,’ said Rep. Maxine Waters of Gill in an interview on Wednesday. ‘I have him on my list. They have not confirmed all of my list yet, but I want him’

Gill has already cashed out more than $13 million on his trades and was sitting on another $7.6 million in gains as of Wednesday, according to a screenshot of his brokerage account he posted on Reddit. At the height of the frenzy last week, his account was worth nearly $48 million.

Robinhood faces 30 lawsuits for limiting GameStop trading 

The company behind the trading app Robinhood is facing more than 30 civil lawsuits from its users in relation to restrictions it imposed temporarily limiting purchases of certain stocks last week.

Several groups of the app’s users have filed separate lawsuits against Robinhood Markets Inc. in federal courts, including in California , New Jersey , Texas and Florida .

The lawsuits allege that the company violated various laws by imposing restrictions on its platform, including a breach of contract and its fiduciary duty.

Robinhood has said that the restrictions were needed for the company to meet clearinghouse requirements and regulatory obligations.

The once obscure YouTuber has become an unlikely celebrity in the clash between small investors and big hedge funds, and is seen by some as a folk hero and others as a dangerous disruptor of markets. 

Meanwhile, securities regulators in Massachusetts are investigating Gill and his former day job as a financial wellness education director at insurance company MassMutual.

The company told regulators that it was unaware of Gill’s YouTube videos promoting GameStop stock, and that if it had known it would have asked him to stop or fired him, according to the New York Times. 

Gill gave his notice at MassMutual on January 21, but was technically still employed there until January 28, as the GameStop frenzy neared its peak, the company told regulators.

He is a licensed securities broker, and licensed professionals have an ‘obligation’ to inform their employers about their outside activities, said William Galvin, the Massachusetts secretary of the commonwealth. 

On Friday, Galvin’s office sent a letter to MassMutual seeking information about Gill’s employment and whether the company was aware of his outside activities.  

‘I am not trying to inhibit anyone’s ability to access the marketplace,’ Galvin said. ‘The issue here is transparency.’ 

A spokesperson for Galvin said MassMutual had told securities regulators that it previously denied a request by Gill to perform side work managing an investment portfolio for a family friend after he joined the company in April 2019.

Publicly sharing opinions about stocks or investments is not illegal in and of itself, and no evidence has emerged that Gill made any materially false claims about GameStop in his hours-long livestream discussions on YouTube.  

After GameStop shares skyrocketed 1,600 percent in January, the bubble collapsed this week, and the stock is down more than 70 percent since Monday

After GameStop shares skyrocketed 1,600 percent in January, the bubble collapsed this week, and the stock is down more than 70 percent since Monday

Gill is seen last week at his rented home in Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife and their two-year-old daughter

Gill is seen last week at his rented home in Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife and their two-year-old daughter

Gill’s videos included a disclaimer that saying investors should consult with a financial adviser before making any investment decision and ‘should not treat any opinion expressed on this YouTube channel as a specific inducement to make a particular investment.’ 

Andrew Calamari, a lawyer with Finn Dixon & Herling and a former director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s New York office, told the Times that it was too soon to determine whether Gill had violated any securities regulations. 

But he said that Gill could have violated company rules at MassMutual if he did not receive permission for his posts on Reddit and YouTube. 

‘Firms don’t allow employees to go out and make predictions on stock,’ he said of employees other than analysts. 

It came as Treasury Secretary Yellen met on Thursday morning with the heads of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

‘We really need to make sure that our financial markets are functioning properly, efficiently and that investors are protected,’ she told ABC’s Good Morning America. 

She told ABC that the regulators would ‘discuss whether or not the recent events warrant further action,’ and added: ‘we need to understand deeply what happened before we go to action, but certainly we’re looking carefully at these events.’ 

Gill has not posted on YouTube since January 22, and on Wednesday he announced on Reddit that he would step back from providing daily updates on his GameStop position there. 

He has remained mostly silent on the controversy, aside from an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week. 

‘I didn’t expect this,’ he said. ‘This story is so much bigger than me… I support these retail investors, their ability to make a statement.’ 

Gill has already cashed out more than $13 million on his trades and was sitting on another $7.6 million in gains as of Wednesday

Gill has already cashed out more than $13 million on his trades and was sitting on another $7.6 million in gains as of Wednesday

Gill made an initial investment in GameStop of about $53,000 in June 2019. He later added to the investment, plowing in a total of $745,991. 

In his latest YouTube videos, filmed in his basement, he celebrated his success with as many as 200,000 fans, wearing sunglasses and a sweatband to hold back his shoulder-length hair and dipping chicken tenders (the mascot food of his followers) in Prosecco.

Gill gained notoriety in the Reddit trading forum WallStreetBets as he posted regular updates of his ‘YOLO [You Only Live Once]’ trade beginning in 2019 under the username DeepF***ingValue.

But Gill told the Journal his original decision to buy – at first ridiculed in WallStreetBets before it was venerated – was based on fundamentals about the company.

‘People were doing a quick take, saying GameStop was the next Blockbuster,’ he said, referring to the video store all but destroyed by the decline of retail and the rise of streaming services.

‘It appeared many folks just weren’t digging in deeper. It was a gross misclassification of the opportunity,’ he said. 



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