It's been nearly 30 years since the Muppets took Manhattan, but they're making a comeback, of sorts, thanks to Greg Smith, the former Goldman Sachs Group employee who infamously quit his job last week in a scathing op-ed in The New York Times.
In reaction to Smith's allegation that he witnessed Goldman managing directors refer to clients as "muppets," the investment-banking firm will begin scanning employees' emails for occurrences of the word as well as other evidence that staffers referred to clients in derogatory ways, Reuters reports.
The move was announced by CEO Lloyd Blankfein during a conference call with partners of the firm, according to the report. In his published broadside, Smith specifically called out Blankfein, along with President Gary Cohn, for failure in leadership that led to an culture in which mistreating clients had become the norm, creating an environment that is "toxic and destructive."
Though in the U.S. muppets are generally viewed as lovable puppets, Reuters notes that in Britain, "muppet" is slang for someone who is stupid.
Following publication of Smith's column in the Times, Blankfein and Cohn sent an internal memo to employees that read in part, "We were disappointed to read the assertions made by this individual that do not reflect our values, our culture and how the vast majority of people at Goldman Sachs think about the firm and the work it does on behalf of our clients."
In the wake of Smith's resignation and allegations, Reuters notes, Goldman has been conducting a broad review to determine whether his assertions are accurate, a process made all the more difficult because he didn't specify the names of people or circumstances in his salvo.
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