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Ex-NYSE manager says he was fired for Daily Show interview

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(Bloomberg) — There’s nothing funny about Obamacare. At least that’s what an NYSE managing director said he found out when he was fired, allegedly for participating in a mock interview on “The Daily Show” to talk about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Todd Wilemon claims that while he and his friends thought the segment he appeared in was “hilarious,” Intercontinental Exchange Inc., the company that oversees the exchange, found he “lost credibility” with clients, according to a complaint filed Thursday in San Francisco.

See also: Kathleen Sebelius Guests on the Daily Show

He was fired, Wilemon said, because of the New York Stock Exchange’s “antipathy” toward the political message of “The Daily Show” and the exchange’s assumption that their clients in the financial industry share that antipathy.

A market maker accused Wilemon of “mocking the 1 percent,” according to his complaint. “You fed into their lies about the 1 percent. How could you do that?”

Wilemon, who has appeared on Fox News and Fox Business television programs, wasn’t identified as an NYSE representative in the interview with Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi that aired March 6, 2014, according to the complaint. The interview had been edited so that Wilemon’s answers weren’t in response to the questions Mandvi had actually asked.

Eight days later, Wilemon was fired, he said.

Marissa Arnold, a spokeswoman for Intercontinental Exchange, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Broadcast quips

On “The Daily Show” segment, Wilemon was introduced as a Fox Business commentator who said that the U.S. health-care system is the best in the world and that Obamacare would make it more costly while providing fewer benefits.

“We have longer lines, you might have to bring your own sheet,” Wilemon said in the interview that was edited for comic effect. “The scenario in which we’ll slip into third-world status will be slow, probably.”

There used to be a family connection between the NYSE and the Comedy Central program. Larry Leibowitz was the chief operating officer of the company until it was purchased by ICE in 2013. His brother is Jon Stewart, the host of “The Daily Show.”

The case is Wilemon vs. Intercontinental Exchange Inc., 15-544667, San Francisco Superior Court.

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