Ms. Smythe said she had met with Mr. Shkreli’s parents and brother last year in Brooklyn, where Mr. Shkreli grew up. “His dad took me around their neighborhood, which was really sweet,” Ms. Smythe said in the interview with The Times.
Business & Economy
When asked if the Shkreli family knew about the Elle article, which Ms. Smythe participated in, she said: “Yeah, I think so. I should probably send them the link just to make sure.”
In September 2015, Mr. Shkreli — who was then 32 and the chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals — hiked the price overnight of Daraprim, a drug that treats a rare, potentially fatal parasitic infection, from $13.50 to $750 a tablet. He was accused of price-gouging, and his combative, sneering responses to the criticism earned him the moniker Pharma Bro.
His arrest, in the early hours of Dec. 17, 2015, related to his time as a hedge fund manager and as the chief executive of the biopharmaceutical company Retrophin. Mr. Shkreli was charged with securities fraud and conspiracy for lying to investors and mismanaging money.
Ms. Smythe and a Bloomberg News colleague, Keri Geiger, broke the news of the arrest in an articled that described Mr. Shkreli as a “boastful pharmaceutical executive.” Ms. Smythe continued on the story, covering Mr. Shkreli as he convicted in 2017 and sentenced in 2018. He is now in the Allenwood Low federal prison in Pennsylvania.
In 2018, after Ms. Smythe’s editors cautioned her about her social media posts about Mr. Shkreli — one included a snapshot of her personal correspondence with him — she decided to leave Bloomberg News, with the idea of writing a book about the man she had covered for nearly three years. (Ms. Smythe told Elle that she did not have high hopes for publishing a book that did not make Mr. Shkreli out to be a villain, but said she had sold a film option.)
“I didn’t hide how much I interacted with him,” she told The Times. “I don’t really think I did anything wrong. I realize, in hindsight, maybe earlier I should have acted a little more proactively. But, honestly, I don’t think any harm was done.”