What Really Happened To Pharma Bro, Martin Shkreli?

Guess who's back to top off an insane year of seismic news stories with a final nugget of madness? It's convicted felon and "pharma bro" Martin Shkreli, the near universally-detested former hedge fund manager and convicted felon who is currently two years into a seven-year stretch behind bars. But before we get to the latest chapter of the Shkreli saga that has set the internet alight with equal parts OMG-esque disbelief and low-hanging opining snark, let's look at the highlights (or perhaps lowlights) that the still-wealthy jailbird has managed to fit into his 37 years.

Beginning his shady career with a court case, according to Bloomberg, in which he was forced to pay $2.3 million to Lehman Brothers for the mismanagement of his own hedge fund (though the firm collapsed before they could collect from him), Shkreli quickly gained a reputation for disreputable business practices, including the "stock-trading irregularities" and the misuse of his own company's funds, so much so that the second company he founded fired and then sued him for $65 million, says the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Shkreli really hit the headlines when it was revealed in 2014 that he had been behind the 20-fold price hike of the drug thiopronin, reports the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and again in 2015, when, according to CNN, Shkreli's company raised the price of life-saving AIDS drug pyrimethamine 5,500 percent, from $13.50 to $750. By the time Shkreli went to jail in 2018 for securities fraud, his downfall was greeted with a widespread wave of schadenfreude.

A Shkreli love (and ghost) story

Shkreli was shameless in the face of worldwide condemnation of his companies' price hikes; according to the Washington Post, Shkreli reportedly called a journalist who questioned such heartless business practices a "moron." And though the Chicago Tribune reported that Shkreli's "cocky persona" was crushed by his seven-year sentence in 2018, it seems the pharmo bro still has a salty side.

But the cherry on the cake for 2020's warped news cycle has been the news that Shkreli is now in the midst of a rather unexpected love affair — with one of the journalists who covered the story of his downfall. And what has made everyone's jaws drop has been the revelation that the woman in question has given everything up to be with the individual CNN calls "the most hated man in America." 

Christine Smythe, formerly of Bloomberg News, gave an extended interview to Elle in which the journalist explains she had fallen in love with Shkreli so irrevocably that she left her husband, dog, and home in New York to be with him: "I fell down the rabbit hole ... I'm happy here," she said. Smythe also confirmed she had frozen her eggs so the pair can begin a family on Shkreli's release.

But the kicker is this: Shkreli was so incensed by the interview that he has stopped speaking to Smythe, and according to Yahoo! Entertainment, has released a statement "wishing her well for her future endeavors," in what looks like a fittingly heartless ghosting.