One of the strangest eBay auctions of the year will end tonight, with the seller in a jail cell.
Of course, anyone following the life of Martin Shkreli, popularly nicknamed "Pharma Bro," may not be all that surprised by the situation.
Shkreli, a pharmaceuticals entrepreneur who rose to infamy in 2015 after jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug by 5,000 percent, was found guilty last month of securities fraud in an unrelated case. A few days ago, the one and only Wu-Tang Clan rap album, "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," which he purchased two years ago for $2 million. He plans to give half the proceeds to charity.
He claims in the listing that he's selling the album due to a dispute with one Wu-Tang member and because "the world at large failed to see my purpose of putting a serious value behind music." Instead, lots of people, who already thought he was an arrogant schmuck, considered the purchase pretty schmucky. Shkreli also threatened to break the album out of frustration.
It gets crazier. Shkreli is now in jail, after a judge this week revoked his bail because in a Facebook post he offered $5,000 to anyone who could get him a strand of Hillary Clinton's hair. Additionally, Bloomberg published a story Thursday that questioned if "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" even counted as a bona fide Wu-Tang album.
Shkreli's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, didn't respond to questions about whether the sale will continue as planned now that his client is in jail. An eBay spokeswoman said in a short statement, "We are monitoring this auction but at this time it is not in violation of our policies."
With the sale ending Friday night, and the highest bidder now at $1,006,600, it seemed as good a time as any to hear a little more from Shkreli himself. Amid everything else going on in his life, Pharma Bro found time over two days this month to answer 101 bidder questions on his eBay listing.
People reached out to him through the listing to stroke his ego or try snagging the album for cheap. Others took the opportunity to chew out Shkreli. I submitted a question, too, and got a response from Shkreli, (see below).
His responses to the haters and to those wanting something from him are classic Shkreli: unapologetic, brash and dismissive. Other times, especially to fans, he comes off as friendly or even humorous, giving career advice ("always be a boss") and offering a few hints about his personal life ("I have tinnitus," "I love to sue people. makes me feel not empty inside"). He even questions the outrage over him raising the price on the drug Daraprim ("What should medicines cost, then? how do you know it wasn't too cheap before the price increase?").
After reading over the six pages of the Q&A, I pulled together some of the most notable exchanges (some I avoided because the language was too ... colorful) to provide a look into the thoughts and life of Pharma Bro. No, I didn't edit these, so enjoy the many typos.
Q: Will you hand-deliver this to London, England. If so, will you agree to a public fist fight?
A: yes and yes
Q: Not interested in the CD. Just wanted to tell you you're a piece of shit.
A: I believe you are mistaken and too poor to bid on the CD. Better luck in your future endeavors.
Q: Do you agree with the general sentiment that you're an asshole? If not why not? (Also please hire me.)
A: no, no and no.
Q: You truly don't deserve 1 cent for this item. You have taken enough money from to many people already. I truly don't know how you sleep at night.
A: word? what do YOU do for a living?
Q: Can we talk entrepreneur business in young bout I've tryed contacting you for years please hear me out
A: no, stan, stop writing.
Q: Hello I am not monetarily wealthy by any means. But what I am is hip hop. My life, my struggle and recovery from heroin addiction at age 17. I am willing to give my life savings for this album and if need be we can go thru my financials to see I'm 100 about my situation. I have $800 and would be eternally grateful if this would work for you.I look to make no money or fame just the enjoyment as an avid WU TANG CLAN fan.
A: you need a dose of methadone and a double dose of reality. scram!
Q: So what are you up to these days? Any good stock tips? Are you involved in AI? What about bit coins? How many bit coins would you want for this CD? How about a trade for an old stratocaster....or a 12 year old rescue dog? Wassup dawg! Thanks, OMO.
A: no no no and no. what color dog
Q: I would like to be as important as you someday how could I make that happen
A: never back down always be a boss
Q: your responses are hysterical. I live in ny can I buy you lunch?
A: no i just ate
Q: If Wu Tang is for the Children. What are you for?
A: i am also for the children.
Q: Do you even like wu tang?
A: not anymore!
Lastly, here's the question I submitted to Shkreli:
Q: Why would you be frustrated and break this item?
A: Roid rage.
First published Sept. 15, 4:27 p.m. PT
Update, Sept. 16. at 4:55 a.m.: Following 343 bids from 80 bidders, the album sold Friday night for $1,025,100 to an anonymous buyer, according to the eBay listing.
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