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Cartoon vilifies Kravis, LBO industry

Political activist and documentarian Robert Greenwald again makes Henry Kravis the focus of his anti-LBO campaign, this time in animated form because ‘fun can go a long way’.

The use of leverage in buyouts and carried interest taxed as capital gains are criticised in “Larry the Loophole”, a cartoon that depicts Henry Kravis as the “face” of the private equity industry.

The cartoon, released yesterday to coincide with the US income tax filing deadline, is the latest attack on Kravis and LBOs by Robert Greenwald, a political activist and documentarian behind films including “Wal-Mart – The High Cost of Low Price” and “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism”. His production company, Brave New Films, has already released two short videos targeting Kravis and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

Robert Greenwald

Brave New Films made a cartoon because it wanted to explain the industry in a simple way, “to reach an audience that is not focussed on these issues and to have some fun with it”, Greenwald told PEO. “We know fun … can go a long way,” he added, citing popular TV hosts of US political satire shows including Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

In evaluating which buyout general partner Brave New Films wanted to focus on as the face of the industry for its “War on Greed” series, Greenwald said The Blackstone Group’s Stephen Schwarzman had already received a great deal of media attention and that he wanted to illuminate Kravis’ philanthropy as being driven by an industry whose tactics and structures he finds troubling.

A KKR spokesman declined comment.