An Open Letter to the Makers of The Wolf of Wall Street, and the Wolf Himself

Categories: Film and TV

prousalis_plane.jpg
Courtesy of Christina McDowell
Courtesy of Christina McDowell Christina McDowell (then Prousalis) with her father and his private plane during headier times.
This originally appeared in L.A. Weekly

BY CHRISTINA MCDOWELL

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, dear Kings of Hollywood, but you have been conned.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Christina McDowell, formerly Christina Prousalis. I am the daughter of Tom Prousalis, a man the Washington Post described as "just some guy on trial for penny-stock fraud." (I had to change my name after my father stole my identity and then threatened to steal it again, but I'll get to that part later.) I was eighteen and a freshman in college when my father and his attorneys forced me to attend his trial at New York City's federal courthouse so that he "looked good" for the jury -- the consummate family man.

And you, Jordan Belfort, Wall Street's self-described Wolf: You remember my father, right? You were chosen to be the government's star witness in testifying against him. You had pleaded guilty to money laundering and securities fraud (it was the least you could do) and become a government witness in two dozen cases involving your former business associate, but my father's attorney's blocked your testimony because had you testified it would have revealed more than a half-dozen other corrupt stock offerings too. And, well, that would have been a disaster. It would have just been too many liars, and too many schemes for the jurors, attorneys or the judge to follow.

But the records shows you and my father were in cahoots together with MVSI Inc. of Vienna, e-Net Inc. of Germantown, Md., Octagon Corp. of Arlington, Va., and Czech Industries Inc. of Washington, D.C., and so on -- a list of seemingly innocuous, legitimate companies that stretches on. I'll spare you. Nobody cares. None of these companies actually existed, yet all of them were taken public by the one and only Wolf of Wall Street and his firm Stratton Oakmont Inc in order to defraud unwitting investors and enrich yourselves.

See also: The Voice's Wolf of Wall Street film review

As an eighteen-year-old, I had no idea what was going on. But then again, did anyone? Certainly your investors didn't -- and they were left holding the bag when you cashed out your holdings and got rich off their money.

So Marty and Leo, while you glide through press junkets and look forward to awards season, let me tell you the truth -- what happened to my mother, my two sisters, and me.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
99 comments
Corey Steven Haley
Corey Steven Haley

Yes it sucked then I sold it in desperation for half of what I bought for. Shit happens- you gotta regroup.

Amelia Koenig
Amelia Koenig

You delivered pizza in a Lotus? That is so poetic.

Genaro Lucero
Genaro Lucero

BOO hoo! Welcome to our world miss I had everything and now I don't smh

Robert Young
Robert Young

Old news is good, but old debunked news is best!

Tim Cox
Tim Cox

I think we've all learned a valuable lesson here: 1) bad things happen to good people; and 2) everyone enjoys a good film.

Matt Ornstein
Matt Ornstein

How on earth are you running this now? Do you post from a cave?

Corey Steven Haley
Corey Steven Haley

I can relate. I went from flying on net jet and driving a land rover and lotus sports car to being so broke I was delivering pizza in the lotus. Fucking wake up call when you are spoiled then cut off. But I don't believe a server wouldn't make enough to where they would have to steal salami. Seems like she is exaggerating.

Dorine Walski
Dorine Walski

Why the hell are you dredging this up again???

martyscor
martyscor

shes right. most were either amused or just disgusted by the movie. i doubt if anyone walked away from this movie with genuine anger or sadness, which is what these events should have inspired. you could say it had to be this way to reach a wider audience, but if it doesnt manage to convey the gravity of the situation then whats the difference?


boiler room did a better job of enabling the audience to empathize with the duped investors at least. in this movie, every victim was nameless, faceless. the consequences of the crimes committed were lost in all the hoopla, if presented at all. going to jail isnt really the consequence of the crimes, its just the punishment. the punishment is for a crime against society; a crime is a negative consequence endured by society. thats the story that needs to be told. it was absent the entire film.

rnmisrahi
rnmisrahi

Thanks for the late advice.

It's a grotesque movie. We left after 40  mins.

deerush76
deerush76

There is no glorification of excess or of Belfort in this film.  Granted, the movie is a comedy.  But most of the characters are portrayed in a very negative light.  If Belfort was lightly punished for his crimes, blame the U.S. justice system, not Martin Scorsese.  His film is not cheering that Belfort got off easy.  He's merely conveying what really happened.


Whatever glorification that some believe is in the film is all in their minds.

xCawoodstock
xCawoodstock

@campfirewood I feel like Scorsese made them look like awful sociopaths though. Every story has victims--doesn't mean they shouldn't be told

RoyKeDa
RoyKeDa

@villagevoice more whiny bullshit. Seemingly from someone who hadn't even seen anything but the scattered preview for the film

Amap
Amap

"Snorting half of Colombia". Here you are fighting stereotypes by using another and offending a bunch of Colombians like myself.

Good for you.

snikwilliams1
snikwilliams1

They were portrayed as the greedy "Douchebags" that they were/are and this film was at least 1 hour too long! A 3minute montage with music could have had the same effect as the last hour.....


snikwilliams1
snikwilliams1

Saw a free screening. Took a long shower after. I understand why Leo threw himself into the role-he wasn't born when this happened, to him it's a part of history he gets to re-enact. But I agree. Marty Scorcsese should know better, and use his editor MORE. It was a 3 hour gorgefest of all the worst excess that the 1980's had to offer. 3 hours of grimey behaviour(pass the turkey please...yeuck!)not the Xmas gift I wanted. Not a victimless crime. Would have loved to see some restitution!

healwithlight
healwithlight

Don't pay any attention to he jealous and vindictive commentors on this post.  They are exactly that.  Many Blessings.  Don't carry "Blame".  Carry forgiveness and Love.

LosParanoias
LosParanoias

To say the filmmakers of WOWS should be marked with shame for making this movie reveals nothing less than a fundamental misunderstanding of art.

Tara Marisa
Tara Marisa

I viewed the film at at pre-screening. I understand the author was personally affected by the actions of Jordan Belfort and her father but while watching the movie; it's pretty easy to get that Belfort and his cronies are irredeemable villains. I did not see it as a glorification of crime and excess. It would be like saying Trainspotting glorifies drug use.

lcentner1
lcentner1

What is the Golden Rule? Do unto others as they would to you. I see the many commercials and believe the premise is to glorify people's bad behavior.  I understand that everyone enjoys a good time 

but when it is at the cost of many unknowing participants who have been taken advantage of it's just bad, with a bad message.  Apparently, this country has forgotten about Bernie Madoff and what he did to many unfortunate people.  Does it need to be repeated and dignified on screen for the art of it? Unfortunately, I do not have the faith that many moviegoers can decipher between

artistic interpretation and admiration for a white-collar thief.  And that's why I will not be seeing this film.


P.S. I am sure that Jordan Belfort laughs every day at the irony of his good fortune

Tom Kane
Tom Kane

Zero interest in seeing it anyway. Everyone thinks Scorcese is the greatest, but I find him very hit and miss. Still think the academy got it right, Ordinary People stands up better than Raging Bull. Braver and continues to pack more of a punch than Jake La Motta.

Dorine Walski
Dorine Walski

I can't believe the Village Voice is even pushing/posting this letter once, let alone twice. Though I believe LA Weekly is your sister publication, so....really no reason at all. I don't need to read early PR/marketing for a book/film rights a victim wants to sell piggybacking on the notoriety of this movie.

Dorine Walski
Dorine Walski

From what I've understood she hadn't even seen the film, so she has no point about it.

abc123456
abc123456

sounds like youre playing the victim of circumstance fiddle.  

also, it's a movie.  like anything else in its nature, it is entertaining.  the movie's angle isnt yours, it's from the perspective of ____

vickevi
vickevi

I see your point but the truth is that you didn't complain when you were driving the White Range Rover. You benefited from his crimes whether you knew about them or not. You don't leave the movie liking or rooting for Jordan or any of his cohorts. Their excesses marvel and shock us. And that Jordan betrayed his "friends" is just added proof that there is nothing glorifying about the experiences. They are misogynistic. The movie isn't. Make a movie about their victims to counter this one. I make movies about women's issues but I am fully convinced The Wolf of Wallstreet is Meritorious as a movie. I sympathize with whom fate gave you for a father but karma is not selective. Be thankful that you woke up to the truth.  But an even bigger truth is that, had they not been caught, you would be flying planes now, yourself, not caring one bit about victims of other financial scams. I will watch Osage, though. But that does not mean Wolf is bad for humanity.

Ed Ethridge
Ed Ethridge

Look to art for a life plan, money is never a legacy, it is only a false sense of security that will evaporate in time. Art is forever.

Jeffrey Boyer
Jeffrey Boyer

Wolf of Wall Street is a good training film for Caveat Emptor. Good article.

Dianne Randall
Dianne Randall

Why is it these monsters can destroy people's lives, millions of lives in the case of the fall out in 2008 from the housing-mortgage/Wall street debacle, and they never seem to take any blame, responsibility, pay back anything to anybody, or rarely do any time in the special luxury prisons. I read my little books on karma that talk about pay back and balance, and wonder why we never hear anything about that. I did get a sense that this Christina, who seems like an unfortunate person that got hit by the collateral damage in most of it, paid a big price. Like to hear more of her story, but where are the big guys who cause it all? On their yachts somewhere near Monaco?

Joan E. Dugan
Joan E. Dugan

Fantastic letter. I never intended to see this movie. Now I'm sure I won't.These guys don't see it for what it is.No eye to the victims.

campfirewood
campfirewood

@xCawoodstock Granted, I haven't seen the film. I'll cop to that. I'm not entirely averse to seeing it- but I'll wait for Netflix.

campfirewood
campfirewood

@xCawoodstock It's not that the story shouldn't be told- it's that, increasingly, it looks as though Scorsese glossed over the damage done.

JoeD
JoeD

@RoyKeDa @villagevoice She lived it you fucking idiot. Go suck off your broker, douchebag. 

deerush76
deerush76

@snikwilliams1  ["Would have loved to see some restitution!"]



What you wanted is a fantasy.  What you wanted did not happen.

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...