Entrepreneurs crying on “Shark Tank” is nothing new. And whether the tears are spilled over the heightened emotion of being in such a high-stakes environment or the retelling of a moving story, they make for great television — but not for great deal-making.
In the latest episode of the seventh season, investor Barbara Corcoran told Mikki Bey Eyelash Extensions founder and CEO Mikki Bey that her crying was going to get her in trouble as a woman. In making her case for how passionate she was about her company, Bey started sobbing.
“I love the emotion, but you’ve got to give up this crying stuff,” Corcoran told her. “The minute a woman cries, you’re giving away your power. You have to cry privately.”
Bey countered by saying she thinks it takes “a type of strength to show this vulnerability.”
“No, no, no,” Corcoran said. “Not in business. I’m sorry — not in business. I have hired men, women my whole life. When I get a woman who’s crying, I re-file her in my head in terms of potential because I don’t trust her in terms of keeping a cap on her emotion.”
The only other female Shark, Lori Greiner, defended Bey, saying that Bey was caught in the moment and being genuine, which she appreciated. After Bey left the Tank, Kevin O’Leary added, “Don’t cry for money. It never cries for you.”
Last season, Corcoran invested in the founders of Scratch & Grain Baking Co., who she said cried for 30 minutes on the set after one of the founders told the story of her difficult childhood. Corcoran insisted that it was an anomaly, however, and that she made an exception because the business interested her enough.
Corcoran told us that as she built the Corcoran Group into one of New York’s premier real estate firms earlier in her career, she learned how to stand out in a male-dominated industry.
“I could usually manipulate a man much more easily than I could a woman, because they’re more vulnerable to manipulation from a female,” she said. “They’re not expecting it.”
It’s why she told Bey that, even though she doesn’t want to see anyone cry in a pitch because she finds it embarrassing, she thinks that women need to be especially careful due to lingering gender biases.
After the pitch, Bey said she disagreed with Corcoran because she was being her true self when she cried. “I left it all out there,” she said.
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