Robinhood's CEO is reportedly staying at a hotel instead of going home after receiving death threats

Allana Akhtar
·2 min read
GettyImages 1299843912 MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 01: A sign reading "Robbinghood Fraud" hangs on a pole in front of the headquarters for trading app Robinhood on February 01, 2021 in Menlo Park, California. Robinhood announced on Monday that it has raised $3.4 billion amid a trading frenzy in the past week. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A sign hung by protesters at Robinhood's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on February 1. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Robinhood's CEO received death threats after last month's GameStop stock frenzy, Bloomberg reported.

  • Robinhood restricted trading of GameStop shares on January 28 following an unexpected rally.

  • CEO Vlad Tenev is set to testify in front of Congress on Thursday about Robinhood's decision.

  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev is staying at a hotel because of backlash following the GameStop trading rally in late January, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

Robinhood restricted trading of GameStop shares on January 28 following a 2,000% month-to-date surge in the share price driven by retail investors. Robinhood users, including members of Reddit's Wall Street Bets forum who cheered GameStop's rally, accused the firm of unfairly manipulating free-market trading.

Some of the backlash was violent. Tenev received death threats and has avoided going home in the past few days, a source told Bloomberg.

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Tiger Global is leading a massive $200 million investment in Robinhood competitor Public.com at about a $1.2 billion valuation, quadrupling the company's value in just 2 months

The police in Menlo Park, California, told Insider's Tyler Sonnemaker last week that a handful of protesters had thrown dog feces at Robinhood's headquarters and sawed through a statue on the property. Institutional investors who bet against GameStop said they had received personal threats, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Robinhood initially said it blocked purchases of GameStop shares to "help customers stay informed" amid market volatility. It later clarified that the decision was due to deposit requirements from clearinghouses registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"To be clear, this decision was not made on the direction of any market maker we route to or other market participants," Tenev said on Twitter on January 28.

High-profile business leaders and lawmakers questioned Robinhood's decision to restrict trading. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Robinhood's decision "unacceptable," and Mark Cuban asked on Twitter whether the app ended trading "because they are losing their a-- on these trades."

Tenev is set to testify during a congressional hearing on Thursday about his firm's decision. The executive recently said on "The All In Podcast" that his company could have communicated why it restricted trading "a little bit better."

"As soon as those emails went out, the conspiracy theories immediately started coming. So my phone was blowing up with 'How could you do this? How could you be on the side of the hedge funds?'" Tenev said. "Of course we're not on the side of the hedge funds. We're building products for our customers. And we just had to do what we did to meet our deposit requirements."

Robinhood did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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