No matter what else is happening today, no matter how dangerous ISIS may be or how high Donald Trump might be polling, no matter whether you’re unemployed or underemployed or employed just fine but unhappy with your job, no matter whether your husband or wife just left you, no matter what — today is still a pretty good day. That’s because the universe just threw all of us a bone by giving us the chance to revel in probably the most delicious mass schadenfreude we’ll taste this decade. Put simply, Christmas has come a little early — because Martin Shkreli has been arrested and is now facing federal securities fraud charges.
Certainly, you know Shkreli by now. He is, literally, the worst person in the world. He’s the smug, 32-year-old asshole who made headlines a couple of months ago when he and his pharmaceutical company hiked the price of a life-saving HIV and cancer drug by around 5000%, justifying the move by saying that, well, it would make him a lot of money. Since then, Shkreli’s gone on to be an untreatable — even by his own drugs — boil on the ass of society, flaunting his conspicuous consumption at every turn and generally displaying an almost incomprehensible lack of shame. He’s a beady-eyed white guy who looks like a cross between James Spader’s smarmy store manager in Mannequin and any guitarist from a shitty emo band, and yet he fancies himself a kind of fledgling hip-hop mogul.
Shkreli delights in his status as a global pariah and has worked overtime to further it, incessantly trolling the rest of us in Steerage Class through various boasts on his Twitter feed or by pulling dick moves like buying the one and only copy of Wu-Tang’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, then threatening to throw-down with the group when it promised to give the money he paid to charity. Martin Shkreli always deserved to have his ass kicked hard and while I would’ve enjoyed seeing a horde of angry bikers do it, the U.S. government seems perfectly up to humbling this pathetic little shit — and whether Shkreli is willing to admit it or not, that’s what it just did.
Shkreli was arrested and perp walked out of his Manhattan apartment this morning in full Eminem-in-8 Mile gray hoodie-wear. The charges being filed against him are for, as Newsweek put it, “such a vast number of suspected crimes it is difficult to know where to start.” At the top, there’s the accusation Shkreli illegally used stock and cash from a biopharmaceutical company of which he used to be the CEO to pay off debts from “unrelated business dealings.” Apparently, while he was running Retrophin he was also running MSMB Capital Management, a hedge fund, and he allegedly used the former company as a “personal piggybank” to pay off investors who’d lost money with the latter. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of shares in the company and hundreds of thousands of dollars taken from it. Adding to that, Shkreli supposedly used his hedge fund to shake down Retrophin by making a million dollar investment in it, then reclassifying that investment as a loan, which meant it would have to be paid back.
Retrophin, by the way, has filed a mirror civil suit alleging all of this, so even if Shkreli is somehow able to duck the federal charges he still has major financial troubles coming his way. Also, as soon as his arrested was announced, shares in KaloBios — another biopharm company Shkreli is inexplicably allowed to run — plunged 50%, further fucking him without Vaseline. So, yeah, good news all the way around.
The arrest of Martin Shkreli may not do a lot to help those he’s hurt, particularly those who needed the drug Daraprim in the days after he jacked up the price of it. It also doesn’t strike a fatal blow to a system that’s been twisted to the point where it’s allowed for very few to benefit hugely while everyone else gets to survive off of the leftover crumbs. But it still feels good to see someone like Martin Shkreli — someone as cavalier in his utter assholery as Shkreli is — get what’s been coming to him. Maybe the arrest of Shkreli doesn’t put an extra Christmas present under your tree this year, but it at least feels like a little extra tinsel.
In the immortal words of the cop who busts Henry Hill in Goodfellas — bye-bye, dickhead.
Oh, and that Wu-Tang record of his that we were never going to get the chance to listen to? Somebody’s already filed a Freedom of Information Act request for it now that it’s probably been collected by the feds.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.