“I’ve had a bad month,” Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) said onstage. The crowd instantly broke out in laughter.
The former CEO and founder of disgraced crypto exchange FTX, SBF’s month probably got worse today. In his first public interview since his company imploded, New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin didn’t go easy on 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 sleepover party.” Sorkin also incredulously asked, “What are your lawyers telling you right now?” Of course, his lawyers are very opposed to him speaking so candidly when he’s under investigation by both the SEC and the DOJ.
But maybe SBF is being so open with the press because he simply just loves good ol’ gumshoe journalism!
Yes, a lot happened in SBF’s highly anticipated appearance today. But in what was surely the most important moment of the conversation, SBF affirmed that journalists are good, actually.
Most of these big shot tech guys do not like journalists. We’re annoying! Trust me, I know, I have dated fellow journalists before. But SBF (who, I must emphasize again, is being investigated by both the SEC and DOJ and lost billions of dollars this month) understands us.
SBF’s opinions about journalism came up when Sorkin asked about SBF’s investments in media companies.
“I was looking to support journalists doing 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 brought up repeatedly when arguing with Semafor co-founder Ben Smith on Twitter.
“I’m certainly seeing, 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, it’s pretty mature of him! Just two weeks ago, SBF unknowingly gave a damning interview to Vox reporter Kelsey Piper. Piper, a longtime friend of SBF’s, DMed him on Twitter to ask about… how his entire life is falling apart and how his company’s failure is causing actual real people to lose their entire life savings and how everything is a massive disaster that makes Fyre Fest look like a small oopsie.
“It was not meant to be a public interview, it was a longtime friend of mine who I stupidly forgot was also a reporter,” he said. “I thought I was speaking in a personal capacity.”
The resulting article made him look very bad.
“man all the dumb shit i said. it’s not true, not really,” SBF wrote to Piper. Again, not something you want to say when you are being investigated by both the SEC and the DOJ! To make matters worse, he also said “fuck regulators.” Whoops.
Despite it all, SBF is willing to stand up for the rights of the press, and we respect that! However, we did ask him to make a last-minute appearance at our crypto event a few weeks ago and he didn’t answer, but it’s fine, we got CZ to talk to us instead.