E*Trade possibly ousting GameStop bull 'Roaring Kitty' spurs online backlash

FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the logo and trading information for GameStop at the NYSE in New York

(Please note language in paragraph 6 that readers may find offensive)

By Suzanne McGee and Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

(Reuters) - A report on Monday that online broker E*Trade may consider banning Keith Gill, the meme-stock influencer who ignited frenzied trading in shares of GameStop in 2021, has triggered a backlash on social media sites.

The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported that E*Trade is considering banning Gill, who resumed posting online after a three-year hiatus in recent weeks.

E*Trade-parent Morgan Stanley, declined to comment on the report and the messages on social media calling for a boycott of the brokerage platform.

Brokerages have invited the ire of retail customers in the past, most notably in 2021 when Robinhood came under fire after it restricted purchases of certain heavily traded stocks, including GameStop, because of volatility.

"@etrade singled out their own customer @TheRoaringKitty taking marching orders from some smoke-filled back room somewhere and tried to say "nope, you don't get to be rich, you don't get to join the elites," X user @welp007 posted on Monday evening.

Many of those commenting on the latest twist in the Roaring Kitty/Gamestop saga referred to their perception that the Roaring Kitty episode serves as an example of the way in which big Wall Street players, from hedge funds to trading firms, take advantage of small retail investors.

Several posters on both X, where Gill uses the moniker RoaringKitty, and on Reddit, where he posts under the username DeepFuckingValue, posted screenshots of their requests to close their E*Trade accounts. Reuters was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the screenshots and the posters did not respond to requests for comment.

"If they're gonna ban the kitty, all of retail should leave their platform," proclaimed Reddit user FalseDifficulty2340.

Posters also suggested the firm's rivals likely would welcome Gill as a client if E*Trade removed Gill from its platform.

(Reporting by Suzanne McGee and Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; editing by Megan Davies and Josie Kao)