Following the collapse of FTX, the founder and former CEO traded wild DMs with a Vox reporter.
Sam Bankman-Fried said Wednesday he didn’t realize the conversation would be public.
Bankman-Fried made the comments in a lengthy and sometimes embarrassing interview with The New York Times.
Sam Bankman-Fried said he didn’t realize the infamous direct message exchange he had with a Vox reporter was going to be public, claiming he thought the reporter was a “longtime friend.”
Twitter direct messages were posted by Vox on Nov. 16, days after its cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, crashed. Among the jaw-dropping messages, the founder and former CEO said that regulators “made things worse” and that he regretted filing for bankruptcy of FTX.
Bankman-Fried was asked about the trade during an interview with The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin at the Times’ DealBook Summit on Wednesday.
“This wasn’t supposed to be a public interview. He was a longtime friend of mine who I foolishly forgot was also a reporter,” Bankman-Fried said, adding, “I’m not sure what they thought capacity was at the time, but it definitely ended up being reported.”
The reporter, Kelsey Piper, is a writer at Vox and has been working there since 2018, according to her LinkedIn.
In a statement provided to Insider, Vox spokeswoman Lauren Starke refuted Bankman-Fried’s claims. She said Piper interviewed Bankman-Fried in May while she was reporting a profile and that “several years earlier they had directly interacted a handful of times across overlapping social and professional networks.”
“Any suggestion that she has forgotten that she is a reporter is not credible — other than the interview in May, she is clearly identified as a reporter in her Twitter bio,” Starke continued. “She informed him from her Vox email, where her signature clearly shows that she is a Vox reporter, that she intended to write about their recorded exchange, and he made no objection in her response earlier of publication”.
In the Vox story that posted the messages, Piper wrote that she had a Zoom interview with Bankman-Fried over the summer for a profile she was working on. Following news of the FTX implosion, she said she sent him a message via Twitter seeking comment, but she did not expect her to respond as she was the subject of several investigations.
Piper said he got back to her a few days later, resulting in a direct message exchange, screenshots of which were posted by Vox. During the exchange, Piper also mentioned the conversation the two had over the summer.
Typically, when speaking to a reporter, a conversation is considered recorded unless otherwise discussed and agreed upon.
In a long Discussion on Twitter released shortly after the DMs’ release, Bankman-Fried also referred to the Piper as his “friend”.
“I spoke to a friend of mine last night. They posted my messages. Those weren’t supposed to be public, but I guess they are now,” she wrote.
Bankman-Fried on Wednesday gave a lengthy, and sometimes embarrassing, interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, covering everything from refuted reports that FTX and Alameda employees were fueled by drugs to calling his parents while FTX was collapsing.
Bankman-Fried, acknowledging that his lawyers didn’t want him to be interviewed, said of the FTX fiasco, “I’ve had a bad month.”
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