The 2009 controversy, in which both parties were hotly critical, were "intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with pitch forks and their hangman nooses. … Sort of like we did in the Deep South. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong."
Benmosche later walked back those remarks, calling them a "poor choice of words."
In the interview, Benmosche argued that public "ignorance" helped spur the outrage over roughly $175 million in bonuses the company paid out to employees. He pointed out that while bonuses typically represent a reward of sorts in most fields, employees in the financial sector rely on annual bonuses for a substantial portion of their income.
"It's core compensation," he said.