“I’ve had a bad month,” Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) said on stage. The crowd erupted in laughter instantly.
Former CEO and founder of disgraced cryptocurrency exchange FTX, SBF’s month likely took a turn for the worse today. In the first public interview of him since the implosion of his company, New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin was not calm about him at the DealBook summit.
At one point, Sorkin characterized the apartment SBF shared with Alameda executives as “a bunch of kids who were on Adderall having a slumber party.” Sorkin also asked in disbelief, “What are your lawyers telling you right now?” Of course, his lawyers are very opposed to his speaking so candidly when he is under investigation by both the SEC and the Justice Department.
But maybe SBF is being so open with the press because it just loves good rubber journalism!
Yes, a lot happened at SBF’s highly anticipated appearance today. But in what was surely the most important moment of the conversation, SBF claimed that journalists are actually good.
Most of these big tech guys don’t like journalists. We are upset! Trust me, I know, I’ve dated other journalists before. But SBF (who, I must emphasize again, is under investigation by both the SEC and the DOJ and lost billions of dollars this month) understands us.
SBF’s views on journalism emerged when Sorkin inquired about SBF’s investments in media companies.
“I was looking to support journalists who do great work, because I think what they do is really important,” SBF said. Semafor, a recently launched news outlet, received funding from SBF, a point that Elon Musk has repeatedly raised when arguing with Semafor co-founder Ben Smith on Twitter.
“I am certainly watching, you know…. getting the brunt of a lot of that right now. And frankly, I think it’s healthy for the world that there is real investigative journalism,” SBF said.
Honestly, that’s pretty mature of him! Just two weeks ago, SBF unknowingly gave a damning interview to Vox reporter Kelsey Piper. SBF’s longtime friend Piper sent her a DM on Twitter asking her about… how her whole life is falling apart and how the failure of her business is causing real people to lose their life savings and how everything is a massive mess that makes Fyre Fest look like a little oopsie.
“It wasn’t meant to be a public interview, it was an old friend of mine who I stupidly forgot was also a reporter,” he said. “I thought he was speaking in a personal capacity.”
The resulting article left him very bad.
“Man, all the stupid things I said. not true, not really,” SBF wrote to Piper. Again, not something you want to say when he’s being investigated by both the SEC and the DOJ! To make matters worse, he also said “fuck the regulators.” Oh!
Despite everything, SBF is willing to defend the rights of the press, and we respect it! However, we asked him to make a last minute appearance at our crypto event a few weeks ago and he didn’t respond, but that’s fine, we got CZ to talk to us instead.