After failing, during a face-to-face confrontation, to convince billionaire Maurice Greenberg to cancel his plan to lease pandas from China and put them on display in NYC, over thirty animal rights activists staged a protest in front of his Manhattan home.
Reaction from his neighbors was mixed, with some taking the handout to learn more and others angrily scolding the protesters. One man who emerged from his building belittled the activists by saying that they have a “preschool education.” The interaction was caught on video. Also caught on video was one of Mr. Greenberg’s doormen holding up a poster that said, “Eat Fried Panda.” An NYPD detective at the scene apologized to the protesters on behalf of the doorman who taunted then.
Just hours before the protest, Mr Greenberg called protest organizer Donny Moss to discuss the panda project and the protest. According to Moss, “Mr. Greenberg was polite and attentive, but he sent a clear message that children deserve the opportunity to see live pandas more than pandas deserve to live freely in their natural habitats. He also argued that pandas serve as a diplomatic tool to enhance relations between China and the United States.”
The anti-captivity protesters, who argue that animals exist for their own purposes and are not here to entertain us, vow to continue protesting Mr. Greenberg and his two partners in the panda project, fellow billionaire John Catsimatidis and U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, until they call off their plans to lease and exhibit pandas.
In February 2017, Maurice Greenberg, John Catsimatidis, and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney held a fundraiser called the “Black & White Panda Ball” at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to raise money for the panda project, which is estimated to cost $50 million. According to media reports, the gala raised approximately $500,000.