"Fashion is an art, but individuality is the key"
I really enjoyed that video way too much. I think I need a cigarette.
On another note, just to show the way this excrement in human form's mind works, here's an interview he did on a Hip Hop website. There's definitely several screws lose there.
Martin Shkreli Plans To Bail-Out Bobby Shmurda
In this HipHopDX exclusive, the contentious pharmaceutical CEO who purchased Wu-Tang's "Once Upon A Time In Shaolin" explains his frustration with RZA, his advocacy for Action Bronson and own his rap aspirations.
The name Martin Shkreli seems to ring wrong these days. As CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, the Brooklyn nativeís controversial decision to raise the price of vital AIDS medication, Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to a staggering $750 each has incited vitriol from across the internet and the real world. So when it was announced last week that Shkreli was the buyer of Wu-Tangís mystic Once Upon A Time In Shaolinówhich was marketed as a pioneering work-of-art rather than an albumóRZA went into damage control. ďThe sale was agreed upon in May,Ē he told Bloomberg Business Week, ďÖwell before Martin Skhreliís [sic] business practices came to light.Ē
To say the stiff-arm did not sit well with Shkreli is an understatement. ďI felt insulted,Ē he tells HipHopDX in this exclusive conversation. ďIf I hand you $2 million, fucking show me some respect. At least have the decency to say nothing or Ďno comment.íĒ
But Shkreli didnít simply purchase the most expensive album in history to have it chill next to his Picasso. Raised in Sheepshead Bay, the brash executive is an avid Hip Hop fan. He loves Eminem and DMX and describes in detail his hopes of becoming a part of the cultureÖ or, at least, the industry. He grew up playing the guitar and piano and aspires to release his own rap album. But before that, his immediate plan is to bail-out jailed Brooklyn upstart, Bobby Shmurda.
ďIím a fan and Iím a business man,Ē he tells DX. ďLook, the guyís going to have to record for me if he comes out. Iíll just come out and say itÖ Iím not going to do this for free.
ďTo me, what Iím doing right now in the media,Ē Shkreli continues, ďraising prices, all this shit, believe what you want, but itís interesting. It gets people talking. At the end of the day, thatís what art is. I donít know if I can translate the shit into rap or not, but Iíll tryÖ In 500 years, theyíre going to talk about rap the same way we talk about Shakespeare. I just want to throw my hat in the ring, that's all. I donít want to make money.Ē
Martin Shkreli: Weíre actually in discussion to try to bail out Bobby Shmurda. Forget whether you think heís guilty or not, the guy should not be sitting in jail right now. Itís insane. Heís from Brooklyn. Iím from Brooklyn. He deserves a fair trial. He deserves good lawyers. He doesnít have good lawyers. His label is hanging him out to dry and so I have a conference call tomorrow morning with them (December 15). Iíll show up with $2 million bail money no fucking problem. Heís not going to flee the country. Iím not going to lose anything. Iím going to try to make that happen. Thatís one thing Iím working on.
HipHopDX: Where did that come from? Iím sure youíre familiar with the story, but are you a fan?
Martin Shkreli: Iím a fan and Iím a business man. Iím not going to do this for free. [Laughs] Heís going to have to do something for me. I donít know what thatís going to look like yet. Heís going to owe me one, obviously. Iíd like to pay for his legal defense as well. Iím a big fan, but also, Iím an opportunist. You know that. I see an opportunity here. Heís a talented guy. Every concert I go to, people yell ďFree Shmurda.Ē He reminds me of me, quite frankly. The guyís totally irreverent. He doesnít give a damn what people think. Totally irreverent. Totally I donít give a fuck. I love him. I just love that style. Heís from not far from where Iím from in Brooklyn. Iíd love to help him out. I wish someone would have helped me out when I needed help. He doesnít have much money, I know that. Heís definitely hurting for money. He needs a bailout, basically. Iíd like to help him out. No big promises, but Iíll see what I can do. Like I said, if I can post the $2 million, Iíd do it tomorrow. Iím working on it and hopefully, weíll see him free soon.
DX: Youíre unabashedly an opportunist, you said it. Is part of this because itís potentially a perceived olive branch to the Hip Hop community. Hip Hop isnít really feeling you right now.
Martin Shkreli: Itís a mix. Look, the guyís going to have to record for me if he comes out. Iíll just come out and say it. If Iím gonna post his bail, pay for his trial, get him a ďNot GuiltyĒ verdict... With the right lawyer, itís just a matter of money. I see opportunity. The guyís going to be more popular when heís out. The guy probably didnít do shit. He was trying to turn to a new chapter in his life and the old shit is coming up and hurting him. Heís New Yorkís best chance for rap since 50 Cent. Itís not a lot of money for me. Spend a couple million on his defense, a couple million on bail and Iíll get the bail money back real quick. So a million or two for his defense, which is probably $4 million in total, Iím willing to put towards his defense. I donít do olive branches. Iím doing something for him, the same way I felt I was doing something for the Wu-Tang Clan. And Iím doing something for me. If people benefit from that, listeners, then thatís great, but thatís not my primary concern. First is him. Second is me. Third is everyone else. Everyone wins. Itís a win-win-win. The only loser is the fucking FEDs that want to see a fucking kid sit in jail for no reason because his lawyers canít fucking get his act together. Thatís whatís going on with that.
DX: What else did you want to share?
Martin Shkreli: Thereís a simmering [conflict] going on with the Wu-Tang Clan. Itís probably going to bubble. I donít know if itís going to lawsuits. I donít know whatís going to happen, honestly. I wanted to talk about Action Bronson. You know heís Albanian?
DX: I do.
Martin Shkreli: You know Iím Albanian?
DX: I know that, as well. Sheepshead Bay [Brooklyn].
Martin Shkreli: Iím the most successful Albanian to ever walk the face of this Earth. What happened to Bronson was [regarding Ghostface Killah]. I thought it was entertaining, watching him run his mouth on Youtube and talk about how heís got shooters and shit like that. It was funny. I just didnít like that. I thought weíd keep it as if it was fine. I bought the album. [There's a ] big fucking check in RZA and Cilvaringzí pocket now, but if theyíre starting to turn up on meÖ The Albanian community is a very weird community. Weíre some of the most tight-knit kind-of kill for each other, die for each other motherfuckers there are. People say itís one of the craziest ethnicities there is in terms of their loyalty and bloodlines and shit like that. This thing [Wu-Tang thing] is starting to get pretty tense. You probably see that increasingly. Iím getting pretty frustrated by it. I bought the most expensive album in the history of mankind and fucking RZA is talking shit behind my back and online in plain sight. Iím just getting pissed off. Thatís not the way I do business. If I hand you $2 million, fucking show me some respect. At least have the decency to say nothing or ďno comment.Ē The guy says ďÖbefore his business practices came to light.Ē What the fuck does that mean? I fucking make money. Thatís what I do. Thatís why I can fucking afford a fucking $2 million album. What do you think I do, make cookies? No, motherfucker. I sell drugs. [Laughs] I felt insulted.
DX: Throughout this entire process since the announcement, there have been people critical of the idea that they were going to try to sell an album like a work-of-art, a piece that truly was one-of-a-kind. You remember when Ol' Dirty Bastard said ďWu-Tangís for the children.Ē Now babies canít get healed unless they can afford $750 [per AIDS] pill. They definitely have brand concerns, right?
Martin Shkreli: Iím staring at a Picasso in my living room right now thatís no different from the Wu-Tang box except itís about 20 times more expensive. It is what it is. If you sell me some shit, then sell me some shit. If you donít want to sell it to me then donít sell it to me. Youíve got to research Albanians, itís the most hot tempered culture there is. I have a crazy temper myself. Heís from the streets. The guy hasnít been in the hustle in 20 years. He doesnít want to get me angry and Iím getting angry. Again, what Ghostface said to Bronson was 100 hundred times worse than me and RZA. This is starting to get into some weird Albanian shit. There are similarities, very similar. Iím just getting fed up. If he doesnít think I have the resources to do something, he fucking doesnít know me. If Ghostface can make people disappear, what the fuck do you think I can do? Iíll fucking snap the CD on fucking TV and not even listen to it if thatís what he fucking wants.
DX: The Bloomberg story talked about a lunch that you and RZA had prior to the finalizing of the sale. With what youíre saying now, I find it hard to believe that there werenít covenants to the agreement that kept [each side] from criticizing the sale should it go either way. Everything else seems super confidential.
Martin Shkreli: Iíll have to look back at the agreement. I appreciate you asking that. I met the guy at the SOHO House. The place doesnít impress me. The guy sits down. We talk for a half an hour. We didnít really get to know each other in any way, shape or form. Thatís why I said that we didnít have much in common because we talked for maybe an hour. Iíve had meetings where I was supposed to be talking to someone for an hour and we end up talking for six hours because weíre so interested in what we have to say. Weíve all been there. Thatís not what happened. Motherfucker came in. He was late. We sat down for maybe 45 minutes at most. He left and was like, ďMan, this is the man that needs to buy this album.Ē Iíve been behind a lot of deals. I know when Iím being bullshitted. You donít have to fucking fake it. But I still wanted the album. We definitely didnít have much in common. The guy is fucking full of himself, talking about how his shit is the best ever, how fucking Bobby Digital was the best shit ever. I wasnít feeling him at all. I figured it was another arrogant rapper. How many of them do you need to meet?
Iím trying to get somewhere in this industry. Iím not sure itís about olive branches or not. Iím a musician. Iíve played guitar and piano since I was a little kid. I might try to do my own shit.
DX: You play guitar and piano? Do you write songs as well?
Martin Shkreli: Oh yeah. I told RZA and I told Bloomberg that Shakespeare is my shit. Binding couplets are no fucking different than [GZA]. GZA is literally a genius. Not everyone loves his flow. I can do something like that, I guarantee it. Iíve reached out to a few producers and a few feature artists just to test the waters. I would never put anything out unless it was just golden. I donít need to embarrass myself. Iím doing fine in pharma. I donít need another career, but I love creativity. I write music. I was in a lot of bands in high school and college. I love rap, obviously. I think I could express myself through it. Thereís never been an [incredibly wealthy] rapper. All these guys rap about is money and I have a lot to say.
DX: Most people think Dr. Dre made it to that level.
Martin Shkreli: Heís close enough, right? [Laughs] Heís the first, so God bless him. Heís obviously an inspiration to everyone, quite frankly. Thatís kind of on the horizon for me. Iím testing it out, but in no means or way saying that I can do it. Just kind of test it out to see if it goes well. It could be total shit. It could be great. Who knows? Probably itís not going to be good. Very few people make it. How many people want to rap? Everyone. How many people can rap? Very limited quantities. Iím even talking to some ghost writers. If Drake can do it, I can do it. [Laughs]
DX: Your music aspirations seem more individualistic than creating a label. The opportunities you've talked about so far have been bailing out Bobby Shmurda and, pardon my paraphrase, riding for Action Bronson. Are you thinking about selling music away from your own stuff? Or is this a hobby that could turn into a revenue stream?
Martin Shkreli: Iím not trying to make money. That's number one. I donít need to make money. The arts for me is about art. Hip Hop for me is a lot of things. You get so many things with Hip Hop. You get tremendous art. Look at Talib Kweli or [Mos Def] or any of these tremendously gifted intellectual artists. Even Jay Z. When I met him, he gave me this big hug. I told him that all of my success, he inspired it. This is two years ago. You get the extremely good art and then you get this new medium. In 500 years, theyíre going to talk about rap the same way we talk about Shakespeare. I just want to throw my hat in the ring, that's all. I donít want to make money. Thereís not a lot of money to be made, regardless. As much as people say Birdman this or Dre that, this isnít a big industry. Maybe it will be. Itís not like you can make $10 billion in Hip Hop. Itís not going to happen. Itís unrealistic. For me, itís more about art and helping bring this art to more people. Iím a drug CEO. You know Ben Horowitz. This is an art thatís growing and growing. To be involved peripherally or centrally, sometimes both, I just love it. Iím at the point in my life where I can do it. Iím still young.
Riding for Action Bronson? Iím riding for myself. Thereís parallels or a subplot. Thereís sort of a subtext. Heís Albanian. Iím Albanian. Heís from New York. Iím from New York. Heís squaring off against Ghost. Iím squaring off against RZA. Their beef is probably dead (with Ghost), but that dude is crazy on top of all of it. I doubt a label is in my future. If there was an artist that was great and needed cash, I would fund him and not ask for anything in return. I would just throw the check down and say, ďGo do your thing, don't forget who I am.Ē If you need $50,000 or $100,000 to go do your shit, go on tour for the first timeÖ I make bets on people, bets on artists all the time and Iím happy to do that totally free and just be there as a go-to for the right folks. All I want in return is a little recognition and just friendship. I trusted you early, you make sure Iím backstage when youíre fucking selling out [Madison Square Garden] and just access. Thatís the kind of stuff Iím looking for.
I love the art. Itís fucking fantastic. All of my CEO friends and investors think itís fucking noise and garbage. I think the more people like me to get into the scene [could be helpful]. Ben Horowitz is fucking quoting Nas in everything he writes. Itís like, ďOkay, maybe you should take this a little bit more seriously." I think that's a beautiful thing. Why not help the scene? Why not help the community? If people donít get what Iím doing with this Wu-Tang thing, it is what it is. I donít think Iím going to snap the fucking CD. [Laughs] Again, my temper can definitely run wild. Did you see that thing where I threatened that dude and his fucking kids, right?
DX: I did.
Martin Shkreli: That was over $3 million, I want to say. He had to call the police, that guy. Thereís a little ďShmurdaĒ in me, too. [Laughs] People that know me know that thereís a little Bobby-equivalent in my blood, too. That comes from growing up on the edge of the hood, I would say. Iíve had guns pointed at me. Iíve had tons of that shit happen. I know that world. Not knee deep, but know it enough to know what it is. Iím definitely the real fucking deal. This is not a fucking act. I threatened that fucking guy and his fucking kids because he fucking took $3 million from me and he ended up paying me back. He called my bluff. He said, ďYouíre not fucking going to go after me.Ē [I said] ďYes I motherfucking will.Ē I had two guys parked outside of his house for six months watching his every fucking move. I can get down. I donít think RZA knows that. I think he thinks Iím some powder puff white guy CEO thatís got too much money. No. No, no, no. I definitely don't spend $2 million for nothing. Thatís a lot of money, even if youíre Carl Icahn. Iíd encourage him to shut the fuck up before he goes a little too far. We'll see what happens. I think heís a smart man. He definitely acts like his shit doesnít stink and he invented rap. This concept of selling one album, this shitís backfiring for him now...
DX: That seems like a pretty resolute opinion on someone you spoke to for 45 minutes.
Martin Shkreli: Look, I donít know. Heís an enigma. A lot of these rap dudes are enigmas. Fucking Jay Z, you fucking sit-down with the guy for two hours, the guy fucking says three sentences. Thatís how Jay is. Heís just quiet. All these guys are quiet. They keep to themselves. They donít say shit. I donít wanna say itís resolute. His music speaks for itself. The guy created one of the most iconic groups ever. But heís not God. Heís not the greatest there ever was or that ever will be and he acts like it. That pisses me off sometimes. I did him a favor. I donít think there was another fucking buyer for this fucking thing. Iíve been in a lot of deals. You know when youíre bidding against yourself. Iím not fucking stupid. I know I couldíve gotten away with half the bid and still got it. Whatís the difference? Whatís another $500,000, $750,000, another $1 million? What am I gonna do, save money on this? Who cares? I just did it. I did him a fucking favor and I expected him to go out there and say, ďWell, Mr. Shkreli, heís not such a bad guy. Heís being misunderstoodĒ as opposed to, ďWe didnít know this before his business practices came to light.Ē What the fuck does that mean? Fucking defend me. I didnít pay you $2 million to talk shit about me.
DX: Have you spoken to him since that statement was released?
Martin Shkreli: No. I donít think it would be a good conversation.
DX: Have you spoken to Cilvaringz?
Martin Shkreli: I have spoken to Ringz. Heís RZAís fucking lapdog. I donít have much to say to him or about him. It is what it is. He doesnít have anything. This is all Bobby. All my emails with him, the guy fucking types in ALL CAPS like heís never used a fucking computer. [Laughs]
DX: The last thing that I expected you to say today was that you have music aspirations. You talk about the swag that rappers have. I think your reputation is similar for better and worse. From what Iíve read about how youíve been characterized and from what Iíve seen from the public forums Iíve watched where youíre speaking, it takes a shit ton of swag to be a 32-year-old CEO of a pharmaceutical company. It takes swag to handle the backlash for, as youíve described it, meeting your fiduciary responsibility. I donít think thatís as off base as what other people might think.
Martin Shkreli: I appreciate that. I had written off rap for a long time. Then I put on Eminemís album [Marshall Mathers LP]. I listened to that first track where he explains how heís gonna kill the listener [ďKill YouĒ] in like 18 different ways. Iím just sitting there thinking, ďWhat the fuck am I listening to?Ē Iíve heard all types of music and Iím listening to this man explain how heís going to dismember me with a chainsaw, fuck his own mother and my brain is exploding. The rest of the album is fantastic. It makes you wonder what art is. To me, what Iím doing right now in the media, raising prices, all this shit, believe what you want, but itís interesting. It gets people talking. At the end of the day, thatís what art is. I donít know if I can translate the shit into rap or not, but Iíll try. Iíll try in my own studios and with my own friends helping me out. If it comes out okay, Iíll put the shit out. Iíve written lots of good songs before. I can definitely do it. Business is better for me just because music is a hard life, as you know. But if I can do it, Iíll do it. The budget for the album can be fucking $5 million. Iíll pay fucking Drake. Iíll pay fucking Lil Wayne. Iíll pay Timbaland to make a beat. I donít care. I just donít wanna put out low-quality stuff. I donít want it to turn into Detox where nothing is good enough; where it always needs to be better. I donít want that to happen either. Weíll see.
Iíve written some rhymes. Theyíre alright. Teams or not, it still has to come from the [artist]. I think Iím a creative guy. Iíve got a pretty deep knowledge of Hip Hop. Iíve got a good vocabulary, a decent sense of humor and enough material to last a fucking lifetime. Iíve got enough material to write five autobiographies. At 32 years old, Iíve seen and done more shit than just about anyone. That should help. Sometimes itís just that magic that makes one of these guys different from another. Iím not counting on that, thatís for sure. Iím counting on how I have a lot of money. Can I be the next Suge Knight or Puff Daddy or whatever in this game? Probably. Birdman? Probably. What does Birdman do? He fucking rubs his hands and fucking every now and then maybe heíll say something. But heíll try hard to look cool and bullshit.
DX: Thereís still a question of authenticity. Nothing in rap really works without it. Everyone whoís had some fame and didnít have authenticity becomes a joke. You donít want to be Vanilla Ice.
Martin Shkreli: Exactly. I donít wanna be Vanilla Ice, but Iím a fucking real dude. Iím the guy. Iíve got fucking Presidents talking about me. [Laughs]
DX: But even away from the street life thatís often associated with Hip Hop. Authenticity within the culture.
Martin Shkreli: For sure. But if Ace Hood can stand next to me in a music video and be like, ďI fucks with this dude. This is my bankroll guy and Iíve got fucking suitcases of money." Thatís my real life. I fucking travel around [Las Vegas] with fucking $2 million or $3 million in cash like Floyd Mayweather. Itís real. Whether you think Iím a herb or whatever, fine. But Iím the dude. Iím the guy. Iím not made up. Take it for what itís worth. If you think thatís not going to do anything... 80 guys have tried to turn DMXís career around. Itís never gonna happen, but I love that dude.
The point is, I am what I am. Iíve seen people call me a fucking savage. Iím the fucking biggest plug there is. The guys on Worldstar say that. There're guys that are like Iím just a white boy or whatever. OK. But if Hip Hopís gonna evolve and be something bigÖ Youíve got guys like Ben Horowitz, myself. You know Ben bid on this shit. Ben bid on the album. Iím here. Use it or lose it, I donít care. But Iím here and I love this shit. If Iím not welcome then Iím not welcome. Thatís OK. Iím still gonna be fucking shit up. [Laughs] You canít stop me from that. Iíll fucking buy Cash Money, dude. You canít stop that. The money is just the money. Itís green. Cíest la vie.
I was at the Tupac auction buying all of Tupacís manuscripts. It is what it is. If Iím an outsider, Iím an outsider. Dudes will still come up to me and need money for the records. Iíll still be here. I hope Iím accepted, for sure. Like you said, you need swag to pull off the shit I pulled off. To even have Trump call you a spoiled brat. Donald-fucking-Trump called me a spoiled brat. That takes someone special, I think.
DX: Iíve been reading a lot of message boards and people have been quoting some of the things youíve said around the album. When you said ďthe fans couldíve bought the last Wu-Tang album or the one before that and they didnít and all they had to do was pay $10.Ē People in the message boards were really upset. In my view, it was largely because that's a hard point to debate.
Martin Shkreli: By the way, I got that from RZA himself. He threw his own fans under the fucking bus. I didnít make that shit up. That was RZA talking. Itís true. Iíve got the money. If DMX wanted to put out an album right now, Iíd pay $100,000 or $200,000 or $500,000. Trust me, heíd make more selling to me than heíd make selling out elsewhere. The guyís got so much fucking child support, so many fucking bills. For him to write something for me would be a no-brainer. I donít know. Weíll see how it all goes.
DX: This is the second time youíve mentioned DMX. This something youíre thinking about.
Martin Shkreli: Oh, for sure. If Kanye West would trade me some unreleased shit, I would make him a copy of Wu-Tang. But weíd both agree to keep each otherís shit secret. Iím trying to cut some shit like that. Maybe do a remix or something with Drake. Heís a big fan. They all have brands and shit, though. For Drake to fuck with me would be a problem for Drake. He probably wouldnít do it. I donít know. I want to see where it takes me. I think I bought a seat at the table with this album. If I can get Shmurda out of jail, that would be some shit. [Laughs] Iím a creative guy. If you talk to anyone in pharmaómaybe I donít have the same resources as Pfizer, I may not have the same experience as Merckóbut Iím crafty as fuck. Anytime thereís some shit to do in rap, you know Iím going to be there. I asked DJ Khaled if I can help expand his fucking restaurant. Weíre talking about it. Weíll see what happens. Iím throwing my hat in the game. I'm here, I want to have fun. It fits me perfectly. Itís this mix of bravado, money music, attitude. This is just me. Nothing in my life fits better than Hip Hop. It was meant to be. Weíll see how it plays out. Iím going to be around. Shmurda, this emerging war with RZA, if it emergesóI am pretty pissed off. I want an apology, for sure. Weíll see what he does. Iíve been known to calm down, too.
DX: Have you thought about sharing the album?
Martin Shkreli: Iím not going to play it for no reason. If Taylor Swift wants to come over and suck my dick, Iíll play it for her. [Laughs]
Martin Shkreli Plans To Bail-Out Bobby Shmurda | HipHopDX
It's like you ate too much crazy then puked it all over a post and hit submit - Nancydrew
Can anyone tl;dr that wall o'douchiness for me?
"You're going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton. Sleep well."
Martin Shkreli -- "The Most Hated Man in America" -- Is in Handcuffs. Here's Why
The Motley Fool
Brian Feroldi 10 hrs ago
Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager and the current CEO of two biopharmaceutical companies, is having a really bad day.
News broke earlier today that Shkreli - who the BBC has referred to as "the most hated man in America" - has been taken into custody and is being charged with securities fraud.
Federal prosecutors are alleging that Shkreli illegally took stock from Retrophin (NASDAQ: RTRX), a publicly traded biotechnology company that he started in 2011, and used it to pay off both personal loans and as well as the debts of his now-defunct hedge fund called MSMB Capital Management.
Authorities believe that Shkerli used Retrophin's stock to repay millions in losses that he generated while running the hedge fund. Prosecutors are alleging that he did so by making secret payoffs to former investors and disguising them as "consulting arrangements."
Prosecutors also believe that Shkreli wasn't acting alone. His lawyer, Evan Greebel, and several others who have yet to be named are being accused of conspiring alongside Shkreli. Greebel was also arrested today.
A rocky road
(© Getty Images) Martin Shkreli has been dubbed "the most hatred man in America".
While this news just broke today, the authorities have had Skhreli on their radar for quite some time. Federal prosecutors issued a subpoena to Retrophin back in January, seeking more detailed information about the company's relationship with its former CEO.
Retrophin filed a lawsuit of its own against Shkreli earlier this year, claiming that their former CEO had misused company funds.
Retrophin said that Shkreli had created several fraudulent transactions between the company and his old hedge fund while he was still CEO, saying that he personally took more than $5.6 million in unearned cash from the company and issued another $59 million worth of stock, all without approval of its board of directors.
America's most hated CEO
Shkreli was thrust in the public light earlier this year when his company - privately-held Turing Pharmaceuticals - purchased a drug called Daraprim and then proceeded to jack up the price from $13.50 a pill to $750 - a 5,500% increase.
Understandably, the move was seen as price gouging and caused public uproar. Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a potentially fatal disease for unborn babies and patients with weakened immune systems, such as patients with cancer or HIV.
The move was instantly turned into a media fiasco. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted about the story and expressed her outrage at the move. That single tweet sent shock waves through the entire biotech sector, causing shares of many biotech stocks to tumble.
Hillary Clinton ✔ @HillaryClinton Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I'll lay out a plan to take it on. -H https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/645656049882632192 …
10:56 PM - 21 Sep 2015
Another Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders, has also been railing against the skyrocketing cost of pharmaceutical prices and Shkreli actually tried to get a meeting with him by donating $2,700 to his campaign. Shkreli hoped that the move would allow him to meet with Sanders so he could better explain how drug pricing worked.
Sanders had no interest in meeting with Shkreli, calling him a "poster boy for drug company greed". Sanders donated the money to the Whitman-Walker health clinic instead.
Stirring the pot
Shkreli hasn't been doing himself any favors online during the year, either. He remained very active on Twitter, using the platform to defend his actions.
Martin Shkreli ✔ @MartinShkreli I like to stir the pot, but I would never, ever price a drug beyond a sick person's reach.
9:53 AM - 16 Dec 2015
It's been a rough couple of months for Shkreli, culminating in today's arrest, but this is one case where he is going to have a heck of time garnering any sympathy for his actions.
Martin Shkreli ✔ @MartinShkreli I hate being in the news. Any way to turn it off?
10:06 AM - 10 Dec 2015
Looks like the answer to that question today is a resounding no.
My Tinder date with ‘Pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli
The Washington Post
Jacklyn Collier 3 hrs ago
© Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post Illustration by Rachel Orr/The Washington Post
This fall, I went on a date with Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old “Pharma bro” recently arrested on charges of securities fraud, and widely known as the most hated man in America. I hate to disappoint the masses, but I have to say: I had a pretty good time.
Martin and I matched on Tinder after he “super-liked” me. (I know, SWOON. It felt almost like those days of old-fashioned courtship.) This was shortly after the news broke that Shkreli’s company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of an 62-year-old medication 4,000 percent overnight. I was convinced that the profile was a fake. The photos were the ones that were being circulated in the media, and his profile simply read “American entrepreneur.”
He messaged me, and I played along, asking what he did for a living. “Martin” said: “I’m that guy who has been in the news lately.”
Still sceptical, I told him I knew his profile was a joke, and he assured me: “It’s 100% Martin” and offered to send a selfie. I still thought I was being cat-fished, but we exchanged numbers and he promptly sent me a selfie along with photos of his credit card and driver’s license. I was tempted to ask for the security code on the back of the card, but instead told him that he should probably stop texting pictures of his identification to strangers from the Internet.
(© Getty Images) 'When it came to planning the date, Martin was the most considerate Tinderfella I have encountered.'
He asked me on a date for the next week and I agreed, mostly out of curiosity.
Like nearly every other American, I was outraged when I heard that Martin’s company had raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill. However, I wanted to be open-minded and meet the man behind the hype.
Okay, I admit that I also had a fantasy of being the manic pixie dream girl who helped him turn his life around. I pictured us opening an HIV/AIDS clinic together and wandering the streets of New York, handing out wads of cash to the homeless people and other strangers.
When it came to planning the date, Martin was the most considerate Tinderfella I have encountered. He asked what day worked best, in what area of town I preferred to meet, and my favorite cuisine. I told him I was a vegetarian but enjoyed almost any type of food, and he chose a Japanese restaurant in TriBeCa called Brushstroke.
Like any first date, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In my limited communications with him via text, he seemed polite, even a little meek. But in his interviews and tweets he came across as confident verging on cocky.
Martin was a lot smaller than I thought he would be, and seemed really nervous. Outside the restaurant, we exchanged an uncomfortable greeting that was somewhere between an over-zealous handshake and a half-hearted hug and headed inside the restaurant.
Once we sat down, he seemed to calm down. We talked about our days; he’d had an interview for Vanity Fair that afternoon and said that he had mentioned me. I wasn’t sure if this was the truth or an attempt to impress me, but either way I appreciated the sentiment.
The waitress came over and made a few recommendations. Martin asked, “Is there a vegetarian menu? My assistant said there was a vegetarian menu? There’s a vegetarian menu, right?” He wasn’t being a jerk; it was more of a “I’m stressed because my date doesn’t put raw fish in her mouth” kind of comment. The waitress assured us that there was a vegetarian menu. We ordered a drink and Martin told me that he was a lightweight, something I’ve never heard a man admit on a date (or ever).
The waitress also pointed out the list of Japanese teas on the menu. Most of the teas were priced between $8 to $13, but there was a “Gold Medal Sencha” for $120 a cup. Apparently it’s extremely rare and won an important tea competition in Japan. After the waitress left, we joked about paying $120 for a cup of tea. I thought about making a price-gouging joke, but couldn’t think fast enough.
The one drink must have loosened Martin up, because the conversation flowed freely and he was surprisingly open. I asked a bunch of questions, trying not to make it seem as if I were interrogating him, but I was curious. He said people saying mean stuff didn’t bother him, but he felt that people didn’t understand the pharmaceutical industry. He assured me that no one would go without the drug if they needed it, that it would be given to patients if they couldn’t afford it. I was skeptical that he could guarantee that, but also wasn’t sure that he couldn’t.
Martin talked about his family (his parents were janitors and refuse to move from the home he grew up in); the foundation he set up (his sister runs it); and the housing he procured for a homeless woman in Boston. He was laying it on thick with the philanthropy talk, but it was refreshing that he cared about what I thought. He was better at that than some of my other Tinder dates.
Throughout our date I saw occasional glimpses of the cocky Martin I had expected, but those were the moments that seemed the most false to me, as if putting on a confident-dude front. He seemed the most genuine when he was acting like the guys I hung out with in high school (I dated the president of the chess club); that’s probably why I felt so comfortable on our date.
We finished our food, and Martin flagged down the waitress and ordered the $120 tea. This was the most surprising and jarring moment of the night. I know he’s a multi-millionaire, but I thought we were on the same page about this tea. He asked if I wanted a cup, and I couldn’t bring myself to say yes. (Though I did think about asking him to Venmo me the $120 so I could use it to cover my Time Warner bill.)
When Martin finished his tea, I asked how he liked it. “I’m not really a big tea drinker,” he replied.
What?! I thought of all the good I could do with that money — donating it to charity, buying a new winter coat, buying myself 20 Venti iced soy vanilla chai lattes. He might as well have eaten a $100 bill in front of me.
Martin offered to have his driver give me a ride home. I once had a date swipe his Metro card for me in the subway, but I was not used to this kind of treatment. I accepted his offer, and his driver shuttled me back to Queens.
I think it was clear to Martin that he was not my Prince Charming, or my “Prince Pharming”; nor was I his manic pixie dream girl.
I am not trying to excuse his professional behavior or say he’s a good person. (I can’t really tell from one date and occasional text communication.) But he’s a lot more interesting and complex than I would have imagined.
My only regret is not guzzling a cup of that $120 tea. As far as Tinder dates go, I’d call that a win.
What evil looks like in human form.
WASHINGTON—Embattled drug entrepreneurMartin Shkreli — who vigorously defended his decision to hike the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 to $750 — suddenly went silent Thursday at a Congressional committee, smirking and grinning instead of answering questions.
Now facing an unrelated federal criminal indictment, the typically loquacious Shkreli refused to testify, repeatedly citing his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.
Members of Congress launched into fiery lectures directed at Shkreli, whose previous company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, came under scrutiny when it raised the price of Daraprim more than 5,000%. The pill is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that afflicts people with weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS and pregnant women.
"Drug company executives are lining their pockets at the expense of some of the most vulnerable families in our nation," U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said. "It's not funny, Mr. Shkreli. People are dying and they're getting sicker and sicker."
The boyish-faced Shkreli sat quietly at the witness table, clasping his hands tightly and slowly rubbing his fingers together as he was lectured. He smirked several times and appeared on the verge of laughter at one point when Cummings was speaking.
After the hearing, he removed any doubt about his feelings.
"Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government," Shkrelisaid on Twitter, where he proceeded to retweet messages from several supporters.
Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, smiles while flanked by Nancy Retzlaff, chief commercial officer, during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. Shkreli invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify to the committee that is examining the prescription drug market. (Photo: Mark Wilson, Getty Images)
Pelted with hostile questions, Shkreli repeatedly recited a prepared statement that he would not testify on the advice of his counsel. He is facing multiple criminal securities charges over allegations that he took stock from a previous biotech company to pay off business debts and lied about the investment returns of his former hedge fund.
U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, professed to be flabbergasted at Shkreli's silence on drug-price-hiking issues, telling the entrepreneur that he could testify on those matters without incriminating himself.
"I intend to follow the advice of counsel, not yours," Shkreli told Gowdy.
At one point, Shkreli's attorney, Ben Brafman, stood up in the crowd and tried to intervene. But U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the committee, quickly rejected Brafman's efforts.
"No you are not recognized and you will be seated," Chaffetz said.
After less than an hour, Chaffetz dismissed Shkreli from the hearing since he was refusing to say anything.
In a brief press conference afterward, Brafman sought to explain Shkreli's dismissive facial expressions, saying his client was just "nervous." Shkreli did not comment during the press conference, but tweeted moments later.
In days before the hearing, he blasted Congress and made sarcastic jokes on Twitter about the subpoena he received to testify.
"I'm not going to say anything other than the 5th Amendment," he said recently. "They just want this to be a circus."
U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Georgia, the only pharmacist in Congress, said during the hearing that he supports free-market principles but was "disgusted" by drug-price-hiking companies.mitte
"What was done here was different," Carter said. "Perverse business practices were employed."
The charismatic persona that Shkreli has cultivated — paying $2 million for the only copy of a new Wu Tang Clan album and setting up a web cam to film himself working — amplified the tension with Congress.
"People in my district are not on the Forbes billionaire list — they can’t buy Wu Tang Clan albums for $2 million," Cummings said. "Like many Americans they struggle every single month to pay for the increasing cost of housing, education and health care. They live from paycheck to paycheck and sometimes from no check to no check."
In addition to Shkreli, several other executives were also set to appear before the committee.
Howard Schiller, interim CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which has also come under fire for its business model and drug prices, cited the company's recent price-cutting deal with Walgreens as an example of its responsiveness.
"We’re listening and we’re changing," he said. "We have more to do."
Schiller pledged that any future drug price increases would be "much more modest" than the increases that enraged Congress.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
Martin Shkreli pleads the Fifth, then tweets about 'imbeciles' in Congress
FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej
Healthy is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
Leaving the price gouging aside -- When you knowingly, and in advance, prevent someone from getting something that would save their lives, isn't that tantamount to attempted murder?
hmmm. no doubt this guy is scum, but what about the boards who appointed him? they had to know he was scum as well....
I saw this on the news today. He was laughing and pleading the 5th over and over. He is mad. I really believe he needs to be put in a sanitarium or something. Something bad will happen to him and no one will care.
Meryl doesn't even try anymore. She just calls Lanvin and asks for curtains with a belt.~Bitter
Can we interest you in Leann Rimes? She has a nice little cadre of fans you'd probably enjoy.~ Pecan Pie
^I know, dummy is really setting it up for *EVERYONE* to hate him. From what I've read in that girl's essay who went on a tinder date with him, he seems super insecure and must think being a huge douchey asshole is the solution to that. Everyone is going to cheer when he gets his.
There is just too much in the article to post, but it's pretty great stuff. This douche really is getting his ass kicked by karma in a lovely way.
Has Martin Shkreli been scammed for $15MILLION? AIDS-drug gouger claims he tried to buy Kanye album from an impostor who has now disappeared
- Shkreli claims he paid $15 million worth of bitcoins for Kanye's new album
- Says he signed a deal with 'Daquan' who said that he 'rolled' with Kanye
- When West released album late last night Shkreli posted bizarre tweets
- The 'pharma bro' asked 'Who the f*** has my fifteen million dollars??'
- Video shows him on edge of tears saying 'This is the worst day of my life'
- Shkreli is famous for increasing the cost of AIDs drugs by 5,000 per cent
- He was arrested and charged with securities fraud back in December
- He's accused of losing investors money and then lying about what was left
- Called last week before congressional committee investigating drugs price
- Shkreli has spent millions of dollars to indulge his hip-hop fandom while allegedly trying to hide losses from a series of terrible investments
Martin Shkreli says he's been scammed for $15m over Kanye West's new album on Twitter | Daily Mail Online
Meryl doesn't even try anymore. She just calls Lanvin and asks for curtains with a belt.~Bitter
Can we interest you in Leann Rimes? She has a nice little cadre of fans you'd probably enjoy.~ Pecan Pie
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