NEW YORK JPMorgan Chase & Co canceled a question and answer session on Twitter with a veteran investment banker after being flooded with insults, highlighting the risks companies take as they experiment with social media marketing.
"Bad idea! Back to the drawing board," spokesman Brian Marchiony said by email on Wednesday evening after the event with bank executive Jimmy Lee was called off.
JPMorgan last week asked users of the popular microblogging site to send questions marked with the hashtag #AskJPM in advance of the session set for Thursday at 1 p.m. in New York.
Few questions appeared until Wednesday afternoon when responses started piling in. Some users simply made fun of the bank's attempt to use social media, but many others chose to insult executives or ask barbed questions about bank's recent legal problems and corporate responsibility.
"Reading the #AskJPM Twitter feed makes it seem JPM put a 'kick me' sticker on its back when it rolled out that hashtag," wrote a user who identified himself as an editor and columnist.
A woman who said she was a community organizer and "next gen freedom fighter" asked if Lee, a vice chairman and deal rainmaker at the bank, thought it was "ok to outright lie, cheat and steal."
A woman called Charlotte mocked the bank's attempt at social media outreach as an "epic derailment" and asked: "Is it true that, while you don't always spit on poor people, when you do, you have perfect aim?"
A blogger and online journalist asked about the scale of the bank's alleged wrongdoing in electric energy trading compared with that in its sales of mortgage securities. Another user known as "Guerrilla Educator" asked if anyone in Lee's family had ever been foreclosed upon.
The company's tweets last week said Lee had been part of Wall Street's biggest deals and had worked with Dell Inc and General Motors Co. The tweets said Lee would "answer your questions on leadership and life."
JPMorgan was an underwriter of Twitter's recent initial public offering of stock.
(Reporting by David Henry in New York; Editing by Stephen Coates)