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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ken Hutcherson Specifies His Threat to Microsoft

posted by on January 8 at 9:42 AM

Insanity buffs will recall the events of last November, when the Northwest’s pyschotic and inadvertantly hilarious anti-gay preacher par excellence Ken Hutcherson spiced up a Microsoft shareholders’ meeting with a cryptic threat:

I am putting together the largest contingency of Evangelicals, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims to challenge Microsoft’s support of people and policies that challenge America’s moral beliefs since its inception….I could work with you, or I could be your worst nightmare, because I am a black man with a righteous cause, with a host of powerful white people behind me. I hope to hear from you and if not, you will hear from me.

Today Hutch is publicizing the specifics of his threat, which involves urging his religious followers to buy Microsoft stock, in a professed attempt to force the gay-friendly company to “stop financing ungodly ventures.”

As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:

The Rev. Ken Hutcherson, who leads Antioch Bible Church in Microsoft’s hometown of Redmond, says that he will create a global and powerful group to promote traditional family values, including marriage exclusively between a man and a woman. Hutcherson, joined by some of the country’s most influential Christian leaders, has created a new organization, AGN Financial Network, to finance the effort. The worldwide venture asks people to buy three shares of company stock and donate one to AGN. Its Web site tells visitors, “You have the power to change the world,” and contains tips on how to open a brokerage account.

Here’s the full report from the Seattle P-I, where one commenter writes:

All this really sounds like is that he is trying to influence the price of a stock he already owns by persuading people to buy it without first considering their financial objectives and limitations. This is not only wrong, but is also illegal. I hope the SEC sees this for what it is and throw the Rev into the Pen. At least then, this paranoid bigot can be out of public eye for a few years.

Stay tuned. In the meantime, divert yourself with this old Hutch classic.

RSS icon Comments


I just love his comical asshatery. I just wish he wore clown make-up and rode a stick pony everywhere.

Posted by monkey | January 8, 2008 9:47 AM

Gah... I just want to walk up and smack the man upside the head with a bible... maybe a few different bibles.

Posted by Phelix | January 8, 2008 9:49 AM

Hey he's got the power of prayer behind him! So this is going nowhere.

Posted by Giffy | January 8, 2008 9:51 AM

Ken Hutcherson is more of a local story, like, suitable only for whatever newspaper they have in Redmond (they do have one, right?). He's not Seattle news, he's not regional news, he's not national news. He is irrelevant and impotent. But, I do enjoy seeing him act like he's more important than he is, it's entertaining at the least.

Posted by S. M. | January 8, 2008 9:52 AM

Ken isn't irrelevant, S.M.

At least not to McDonald's.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 8, 2008 9:56 AM

One of my favorite pieces of that story:

Hutcherson said it's not Microsoft's job to influence the public agenda, and that it should be left to others, like him.

"That's what my job is," he said. "I'm a pastor."

One of the things that distinguishes a corporation from, say, a private equity firm is that, according to a particularly unfortunate interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, corporations have most of the same rights that individuals have. Which means they are explicitly allowed to act in the public sphere.

As opposed to churches which, according to the First Amendment, are explicitly forbidden from trying to influence public policy.

That seems like the kind of thing a reporter might be expected to catch, but I guess I shouldn't hope for too much.

Posted by Judah | January 8, 2008 9:58 AM

If there was a trade journal for crazies, Hutch would be on the cover. Such innovation in the field! Such passion for insanity!

Posted by Ari Spool | January 8, 2008 10:04 AM

That may be one of the more clever pump-and-dump schemes yet.

Posted by tsm | January 8, 2008 10:07 AM

I saw Hutch arrive at the watchmen thingy last oct. No stick pony but he did show up in a huge black suv with really big chrome wheels, a loverly blue tent shirt, white scarf which hung down to his knees, silver tipped cowboy boots and a "security" goon who appeared to have fewer brain cells than my 6 month old puppy. He looked every bit the fool he is. I hope his plan at least drives the microsoft stock price up.

Posted by jamesb | January 8, 2008 10:08 AM

Is that P-I commenter really right? Would it really be illegal for an individual shareholder like Hutch to try to persuade others to buy the stock for whatever reason he might find convincing? I've never heard of that before, but then I don't know jack about finance...

Posted by cdc | January 8, 2008 10:09 AM

Just to let y'all know, I'm fervently praying for Hutch...

That is, I'm praying for photos of Hutch making use of a glory hole to appear in the media asap.

Posted by Tlazolteotl | January 8, 2008 10:17 AM

What's the market cap of Microsoft again? Let's say this happens; what effect are a couple of hundred shares going to have? Bzzt. Thanks for playing, Mr. Hutcherson. Help yourself to the cheese tray on your way out. No, that door over there. Bye!

Posted by fnarf | January 8, 2008 10:21 AM

this man is obviously going to get himself into legal trouble at some point. it's just a matter of time. he lacks judgement--ironic isn't it, considering how judgmental he is?

Posted by ellarosa | January 8, 2008 10:21 AM

Microsoft's market cap is $320 billion, with about 9.3 billion shares outstanding.

So, if he wants 50% of the vote, he'll have to come up with $160 billion (okay, maybe not quite that much, I think I remember reading that 3-4% of the current shareholders voted were opposed to Microsoft's samesex policies).

Or, looking at it another way, if he wants 50% of the shares (4.7 billion) and he wants people to buy 3 shares, he only needs 1.6 billion people to buy 3 shares of Microsoft.

That sounds doable to me, I don't know why you people think he's crazy.

Posted by Julie | January 8, 2008 10:33 AM

If he attempts to influence the stock, dumps his shares whether he makes money or not he may be commiting a crime. However, I think he is smarter than that. It would be easy to have your shares owned somewhere else.
Don't underestimate Hutch. Just take a look at his crazy Antioch Church website. It is about bringing cash into his church and he even admits that. Since they cannot have babies the church has even started free adoption services.

Posted by Touring | January 8, 2008 10:36 AM

@10 I'm a registered representative with FINRA, which is what the NASD renamed themselves, and I can confirm that what Hutch is doing could have serious legal consequences. If I want to sell someone securities (I'm only registered to sell mutual funds), I have to first fill out a form that determines their suitability for various investments. It includes a lot of details regarding income, previous investment experience, expected timeline for a return, and so on, and it's not subjective in the least. You check boxes, and each one is worth a certain number of points that are used to determine risk tolerance, which tells you what kind of investment to recommend. You then have to hand over a prospectus for every stock you're going to so much as mention by name, and if you talk the client into an investment that's not suitable which then goes south, you are in a world of trouble.

There are exceptions, like newsletters or investment TV shows, but that's just for stuff like, "this is a good stock, that is a bad stock, this is a wise investment strategy." However, since Hutch is asking people to buy three shares of a specific stock, based on political, rather than investment reasons, and to then donate one stock to his organization, I would seriously doubt this qualifies, and if a few thousand people took his advice, and suddenly the stock plummeted because Steve Ballmer got caught embezzling money to pay for 13 year old Thai hookers, there would be hell to pay.

Posted by Gitai | January 8, 2008 10:38 AM

This is going to rule so hard. What's going to happen is that every time a company gets on Hutch's shit list, his followers will dump money into their stock, pumping it up. The more crazy followers, the better. The perverse effect, of course, is that it will actually serve as a (miniscule) incentive for companies to deliberately piss Hutch off.

Posted by Greg | January 8, 2008 10:41 AM

Here we are again with a threat being made by a nut and folks take it as a JOKE or don't take it seriously. DAVID DAVID DAVID, did not your roomie get his nose broken by a nut making a threat that was taken as a joke? Or at least not seriously enough for said roomie to think twice before heading out the door of the store? Rev-Hutch is not making a threat of violence, noses will not be broken. However don't discount the threat as being weak or un-doable with some element of damage being done to LGBT folks at The Big 'M'.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | January 8, 2008 10:46 AM

SARGON SARGON SARGON: That wasn't my roommate. It was the roommate of Hot Tipper Lazslo.

And comparing Hutch's ludicrous and potentially illegal pump-n-dump scheme to a punch in the face is giving Hutch too much credit. (At best, it's a flaming bag of poo left on a doorstep.)

Posted by David Schmader | January 8, 2008 10:52 AM

The Antioch crazies are not going to pump-and-dump Microsoft. A few thousand people buying three shares each will have ZERO effect on a stock the size of Microsoft. There are probably that many shares changing hands every day from crazy people anyways. You pump-and-dump penny stocks, not market leaders.

This is pure publicity. It has no financial implications at all. Maybe some legal ones.

Seriously, the march towards civil rights is going to involve some friction. If the worst the haters can bring is Ken Hutcherson, we're in luck. A hundred Hutches can't equal the damage done by a single Santorum, and we beat him, didn't we? Hutch might even be working for our side, in the bigger picture.

Posted by fnarf | January 8, 2008 10:52 AM

@18. What Hutch is proposing to do (get a majority of the votes of Microsoft's shareholders in order to be able to vote a certain way about their LGBT policies) is 100% impossible. So impossible as to be hilarious.

Now, it's not entirely impossible that LGBT rights at Microsoft could be affected if he decided to make a huge fuss, picketing, protesting, getting folks to write letters or businesses to boycott. Highly unlikely that this would happen, but at least, not as impossible as getting a majority of the shares.

Posted by Julie | January 8, 2008 11:00 AM

@6, not really. Church's are quite free to influence public policy and have the same free speech rights as anyone. The first amendment prevents congress for legislating for explicitly religious religions or form interfering unduly with peoples right to religion, but thats about it.

However if they register, as most do, tax-exempt organizations they cannot directly support candidates for office. Just like non-religious tax except organizations. Thats why a group like planned parenthood has a foundation that supports its clinics, outreach, etc and a PAC that lobbies for or against candidates.

Posted by Giffy | January 8, 2008 11:08 AM


If he truly wanted to influence MS, then what he really needs is for people to buy MS stock, and give him the voting rights at shareholder meetings. He doesn't actually need to own their stock to do that.

He's just trying to get himself some free MS stock.

To have any actual influence or power, he'd need millions of shares of MS stock (or at least the voting rights). He'll be lucky to get more than a few hundred.

This whole thing is a joke and a scam. But he'll probably have more MS stock at the end of the month than I do, the lucky fucker.

Posted by Reverse Polarity (formerly SDA in SEA) | January 8, 2008 11:22 AM

@18 - The plan as Hutch has defined it can't succeed in his poorly stated goal of preventing Microsoft from engaging in public policy issues that affect it's business.

That said, I think it is safe to say that there are people at Microsoft watching the situation warily but without any sense of fear.

I ran the numbers on this scam in early December and once it was clear that there is no hope of it having it's intended impact, it became stunningly clear that this is just a fundraising and PR effort.

I don't think it would be foolish to expect any money raised to be used to fight expansion of the Domestic Partnership legislation and to replace equality minded candidates in Washington State with less enlightened souls.


Posted by The Gay Curmudgeon | January 8, 2008 11:28 AM

Oh, and I'll point out again that no political movement in the world is going to get enough shares to beat even one mutual fund in the influence game.

Posted by Gitai | January 8, 2008 11:46 AM

I suspect that the majority of MS stock is tied up in retirement funds and the like. They judge on corporate performance only - they could seriously care less what the social policies of the corporations are.

Therefore, this is just more stupidity. Or some sort of scam. When you get right down to it, that's what the Antioch church is all about.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | January 8, 2008 12:42 PM

And almost all of those retirement funds are mutual funds, as Gitai points out. Hutch is an economic primitive.

Posted by Fnarf | January 8, 2008 12:46 PM

OH MY GAWD, PASTOR, WHEN YOUR FATHER COMES HOME HE IS GONNA BE PISSED! Shame on you, you encourage your church members to spend their money on a company's stock, when there are many poor and sick to be taken care of. God's son commanded most above all, take care of the sick and the poor.
I'll see you in hell hutch

Posted by Christianflikr | January 8, 2008 4:06 PM

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