- Some protesters vandalised Robinhood’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, according to police.
- Robinhood security said people threw dog faeces and harassed its guards, Menlo Park PD told Insider.
- The protests, earlier reported by CNBC, targeted Robinhood’s response to the recent trading frenzy.
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A handful of protesters outraged at trading app Robinhood have shown up in recent weeks at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, to voice frustrations over the company’s decision to limit trading of certain stocks.
Some of those protesters, however, used more than their words.
Robinhood’s security staff said in calls to the Menlo Park Police Department that one protester threw dog faeces at the building, one hurled his T-shirt at a guard, and another sawed through a statue on the property, an MPPD spokesperson told Insider.
The faeces thrower fled before he could be identified, while the t-shirt hurler was cited for assault and released â€” both incidents occured on January 28, the spokesperson said, adding that later that night, Robinhood security staff called police again to report two trespassers, who left after warnings from MPPD officers.
Robinhood declined to comment.
Those incidents, reported earlier by CNBC and confirmed by Insider, were followed by a roughly 15-person demonstration on January 29 that did not result in any police response, according to MPPD.
On January 31, another protester vandalised a statue, apparently using an electric saw, and on February 2, a 20- or 30-year-old man showed up and yelled at security staff but left before officers arrived, the MPPD spokesperson said.
Protesters also wrote “VLAD SUCKS” â€” referring to Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev â€” in chalk on the footpath in front of Robinhood’s offices, according to images captured by Getty photographer Justin Sullivan on February 1.
Robinhood and other trading apps sparked the anger of customers last month after they restricted them from trading GameStop, AMC Entertainment, Nokia, and other stocks amid a short-squeeze fuelled by Reddit day traders â€” many of whom use Robinhood to make those trades.
Customers complained the trading apps had locked them out of massive potential gains by preventing them from buying stocks or options as share values climbed â€” while hedge funds and other large investors were free to keep trading. They also argued that Robinhood’s business model, which depends heavily on a controversial practice known as “payment for order flow,” presents a conflict of interest that may have led Robinhood to limit trading to protect the large firms that pay it to execute users’ trades.
Robinhood and Tenev have defended the restrictions, saying it was necessary to curb trading volumes in order to meet regulatory requirements.
Still, the moves prompted backlash in the form of class-action lawsuits and Congressional hearings. At the same time, federal regulators and prosecutors are investigating whether the army of Reddit traders engaged in market manipulation.