“I’ve had a bad month,” said Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) on stage. The audience immediately burst into laughter.
The former CEO and founder of the 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 does not take it 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 and having a sleepover.” Sorkin also asked incredulously, “What are your lawyers telling you now?” Of course, his lawyers are very against him speaking so candidly when he is under investigation by both the SEC and DOJ.
But maybe SBF is so open with the press because he just loves good old fashioned journalism!
Yes, a lot happened during SBF’s highly anticipated performance today. But in what was certainly the most important moment of the conversation, SBF affirmed that journalists are actually good.
Most of these big techies don’t like journalists. We’re annoying! Believe me, I know, I’ve dated fellow journalists before. But SBF (which, I must emphasize again, is under investigation by both the SEC and DOJ and has lost billions of dollars this month) understands us.
SBF’s opinion on journalism emerged when Sorkin asked him about SBF’s investments in media companies.
“I was looking for support from journalists who are doing great work because I think what they are doing is really important,” SBF said. Semafor, a recently launched news outlet, received funding from SBF – a point Elon Musk has brought up repeatedly during an argument with Semafor co-founder Ben Smith on Twitter.
“I can definitely see, you know…. suffer a lot 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, an old friend of SBF, DMed him on Twitter asking about… how his whole life is falling apart and how his business failure causes real people to lose their entire life savings and how everything is a huge disaster 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 I was speaking in a personal capacity.”
The resulting article made him look very bad.
“Man, all those stupid things I said. it’s not true, not really,” SBF wrote to Piper. Again, not something you want to say when you’re being investigated by both the SEC and DOJ! To make matters worse, he also said “fuck regulators”. oops.
Despite everything, SBF is willing to stand up for the rights of the press, and we respect that! However, we asked him a few weeks ago to show up at our crypto event at the last minute and he didn’t reply, but it’s fine, we got CZ to talk to us.