ThinkProgress

With investors under fire for financing white nationalism, Robert Mercer resigns from hedge fund

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 file photo, Milo Yiannopoulos speaks during a news conference in New York. Polarizing right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos has filed a $10 million lawsuit over a canceled book deal, Friday, July 7, 2017 .(CREDIT: AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Robert Mercer, the billionaire that has funded Breitbart and Milo Yiannopoulos, resigned from his role as CEO of the quant hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, according to the New York Times. Mercer’s resignation came just two weeks after ThinkProgress revealed 12 nonprofits, universities, and public retirement funds had invested millions of dollars into the hedge fund, noting that their investments were helping fund white nationalism.

Mercer also plans to sell his stake in Breitbart to his daughter Rebekah, who shares his political views.

In a statement, Robert Mercer also repudiated Milo Yiannopoulos, who laundered white nationalist propaganda, saying he has severed all ties.

Mercer sent a letter to investors and pension advisors on Thursday morning informing them of his plans to step down from his post at Renaissance Technologies at the end of the year but said he would remain active on the research side of the company, the New York Times reported.

The ThinkProgress story sparked large public outcry, with thousands of people tweeting and messaging those institutions to divest. Michigan State University was targeted by student groups and Sleeping Giants, an activist group that launched a successful campaign against Breitbart’s advertisers.

Last week, the Baltimore Fire and Police Employees’ Retirement System — one of the institutions identified by ThinkProgress — held an emergency meeting to discuss their investments in Renaissance. The retirement fund “asked to refund all of the $33 million it had invested in Renaissance,” David A. Randall, the fund’s deputy executive director, told the New York Times. Randall compared the move to a decision whether or not “to invest in a tobacco company or gun manufacturer.”

Mercer’s political views contrast with Renaissance Technologies’ founder James Simons, a large donor to Democrat causes and campaigns.