Martin Shkreli’s long history of harassing female reporters

Martin Shkreli
Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Sunday evening, she published a really wild profile of Christie Smythe, a former Bloomberg journalist who left behind her job, apartment and marriage to pursue a relationship with one of her subjects, Martin Shkreli, the so-called Pharma Bro, which gained notoriety in 2015 when the pharmaceutical company bought the patent for a life-saving drug and then raised the price by 5,000 percent. Shkreli is currently serving a seven-year federal prison sentence for fraud.

The story is riveting. It’s full of amazing quotes and details (the prison’s visiting room where she and Shkreli first kissed smelled like chicken wings, Smythe remembered) and has a twist that ends so annoyingly that I felt that I need to lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling. a while after I read it. How could a successful woman be inspired to blow up the life of such a tiring guy that his own lawyer once said he wanted to punch him in the face? How did Smythe’s husband, with whom he participated in “literary pub crawls”, feel because he was left for this guy? Does Smythe print memes to send to Shkreli? How long until I have to slowly run my hand along the flat surfaces, in a futile attempt to resist in reality?

And yet, there’s a remarkable aspect of Shkreli’s time as a public figure that the play goes over, an aspect that seems crucial to any story about his relationship with journalists and the media: his harassment pattern of online female reporters . she The story begins with a brief reference to how Shkreli treated Emily Saul, a former New Yorker. Post reporter. Saul said she that Shkreli – or one of her supporters – created a fake Facebook page for her and falsely claimed she was in a relationship. He also bought for less than $ 12 and then held the domain hostage, offering to sell it for thousands of dollars.

In the article, Smythe defends her behavior, further proof of her unwavering loyalty: “He trolls because he is anxious,” she says. But it is worth noting that the extent of Shkreli’s “trolling” far exceeds his treatment of Saul – in 2017, Business Insider reported that Shkreli bought the personal domain names of 12 reporters who wrote about him. web pages that he later customized to make fun of the journalists in question.

And he was especially fixated on women in the media industry. Take the 2017 harassment of writer Lauren Duca. After Duca declined an invitation to attend President Trump’s inauguration as a plus-one, he changed his avatar on Twitter and cover photos to Duca’s photos and made her biography “little for @laurenduca (I hope she doesn’t find out)”. His harassment of the Duke became so severe that Twitter suspended him.

After she the song grew, some journalists on Twitter began to share their own experiences of being targeted by Shkreli.

“Martin Shkreli harassed me and many other women throughout 2016,” New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz told Cut. “He turned our lives into a nightmare by encouraging followers to constantly post about us. It’s very frustrating to see people minimize their harassment now. ” And, although it happened years ago, Lorenz says he still feels the effects of Shkreli’s harassment today. “When I’m attacked online, Martin’s fans continue to contribute to the accumulation.”

How does Smythe feel about all this? On Sunday, she responded to a Twitter user who asked about Shkreli’s treatment of the Duke, written, “It was kind of a two-way street with that awful stupidity. I do not approve. “

Although he may not approve of Shkreli’s actions, Smythe certainly seemed quick to come to his defense. Conformable she, after she went to Shkreli’s apartment to listen to the only copy of a Wu-Tang album she bought for $ 2 million, Smythe “posted a photo with her on Twitter, holding the album, tagging a journalist who Shkreli had harassed her online and wrote, “You don’t think it would hurt a woman, even a journalist. Here it is: me and the #wutang album. ‘ “

Finally, she the article was not an analysis of Shkreli’s treatment of women; it was a story about the mystifying nature of love and / or desire and the mind-boggling things it can do to us. But Shkreli’s history of mistreating female journalists also seems an important context, not only for a better understanding of him, but for a better understanding of Smythe – and everything he chose to overlook. to continue a life with the man she loved – whom Shkreli haunted. from his prison cell.