Billionaire hedge fund manager apologizes for using racial insult against black state senator over her position on charter schools

Billionaire hedge fund manager Dan Loeb apologised after writing a racial insult on Facebook about a black state senator, The New York Times reported.

Loeb, who’s chairman of the board of Success Academy Charter Schools, accused Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, an African-American woman who’s the Democratic leader in the New York State Senate, of having done “more damage to people of colour than anyone who has ever donned a hood.”

His remark seems to be a reference to the Ku Klux Klan, a discomfiting remark for a network that boasts more than 90% of students are black or Latino.

On Facebook, Loeb called Stewart-Cousins a hypocrite who paid “fealty to powerful union thugs,” and he showed support for Jeff Klein, a senator who is pro charter schools. He’s since apologised in a statement and deleted his post.

“I regret the language I used in expressing my passion for educational choice,” he said in a statement to The Times. “I apologise to Senator Stewart-Cousins and anyone I offended. I have taken down the post from Facebook.”

Loeb is an influential member of the Success team. He founded three of Success’ 41 schools, and has coordinated some of the largest donations to the network from fellow billionaires, Politico reported.

“An apology for these comments was appropriate and absolutely necessary,” Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz said in a statement to Business Insider. “While it is true that anti-charter policies hurt children of colour, we must recognise there are electeds who in good faith hold differing positions on schooling.”

Success is the largest charter network in New York City and has produced impressive results. Its students who outperform students in traditional public schools in New York City on standardised tests. Sceptics of their model claim their test scores are the result of questionable practices. They remain a contentious figure in the education reform movement in New York.