The recent kerfuffle on Wall Street, in which an organized group of retail traders mobilized to take advantage of what they say were criminally undervalued stocks in companies like GameStop and AMC, had all the makings of a great farce -- including a larger-than-life figure who made his way to the forefront. That's Jaime Rogozinski, founder of the Reddit r/wallstreetbets subreddit and the man who the media latched on to as a figurehead of the "Gamestonk" movement. That he is no longer involved with r/wallstreetbets, having been booted during one of the internet moderation battles common to basically any community with big personalities, didn't seem to matter, especially since he recently wrote a book about building the community.
Producer Brett Ratner and his RatPac Productions have acquired the rights to both that book, and more generally to Rogozinski's life rights, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The idea is to create a film that centers on Rogozinski and views recent events through his eyes and those of redditors.
The book, WallStreetBets: How Boomers Made the World Biggest Casino for Millennials, was released last week and timed to benefit from the scramble for information about who and what the forum was all about.
If you want a bit more unbiased -- but still pretty entertaining -- take on the controversy, you can check out last week's episode of the Deep Cuts podcast, hosted by a pair of comic book writers and pop culture geeks. The abbreviated version (we can't say "the short version" for reasons that will become clear soon) is that stock traders who believed that GameStop and other pop culture-friendly stocks were going to tank, were intending to sell the stocks short. That is, basically, to borrow it, sell the one you've borrowed, and then wait for it to depreciate, buy it cheaper, and return that to the original owner. Some, including Tesla's Elon Musk, believe the practice should be illegal.
It isn't, but it can backfire terribly when the stocks begin to appreciate, leaving those who have the "borrowed" stock to have to buy it at the higher price and eat the loss. When a sudden rush on GameStop stock increased the price by several hundred percent, those who had hoped to short it -- there were actually significantly more stocks on the speculator market than actually existed -- were suddenly out billions.
Retail brokers like the micro-transaction apps that have become popular with small investors halted trading on some of the stocks, raising the ire of their customers, who felt big accounts from wealthy investors were being given preferential treatment.