This morning, the one story that has taken the Internet by a (global) storm, is a story by Elle Magazine. The story is headlined: The Journalist and the Pharma Bro. The story is of a New York journalist who fell in love with infamous “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli and upended her “perfect” life for him-- she quit her job, and divorced her husband.
Christie Smythe, 38, former Bloomberg News reporter, opened up about her relationship with the convicted fraudster Martin Shkreli. Months after Shkreli had first gained notoriety when his company raised the price of an anti-parasite drug from $13.50 to $750, Smythe first broke the news of Shkreli’s arrest on fraud charges in December 2015. She described her increasing involvement with Shkreli over the next few years as “incremental decisions, where you’re, like, slowly boiling yourself to death in the bathtub.”
In the article, Smythe says that she started dating Shkreli after he was incarcerated in 2018. “It’s hard to think of a time when I felt happier,” Smythe says of their relationship.
Talking about her life-altering romance with Shkreli, who is serving a seven-year sentence for scamming investors in hedge funds he operated, she said, “I fell down the rabbit hole".
Smythe hasn’t seen her beau in over a year because of COVID-19 safety protocols at prisons. Now working remotely for a journalism start-up from her Harlem basement apartment, Smythe promised to wait for Shkreli. “I’m gonna try,” she said. “I’ll be here.” “I’m happy here. I feel like I have purpose,” she gushed.
In the summer of 2018, Smythe quit Bloomberg over her connection to Shkreli. Soon after, “I told Martin I loved him” in a prison visitation room that smelled like chicken wings, she recalled to Elle. “He told me he loved me, too,” Smythe said, and the two kissed.
Smythe said they have discussed their kids’ names and prenups. She said she even froze her eggs out of fear she’d be too old to have children by the time her “life partner” is freed. But throughout the interview, Smythe also admits, "Maybe I was being charmed by a master manipulator."
However, not too surprising for many, it seems Shkreli wasn't too pleased with Smythe speaking out about the love connection to Elle magazine. A statement her beau gave to Elle read, “Mr. Shkreli wishes Ms. Smythe the best of luck in her future endeavors.”
Upon hearing his words, Smythe — who has sold the movie rights to a book proposal about Shkreli — quietly said, “That’s sweet,” the mag reported. “That’s him saying, You’re going to live your life and we’re just gonna not be together. That I’m going to maybe get my book and that our paths will… fork up,” Smythe continued, tearing up.
There were strong reactions to the piece:
This is remarkable. A microcosm of wrongness. Patriarchy, white privilege, and the truly stunning ability of white women to fool themselves into caretaking the shittiest most despicable white men. I'd say I can't believe it, but it's utterly believable https://t.co/v9ixFYpyZT— Erin Biba (@erinbiba) December 21, 2020
Old tweets of Smythe were also dug up.
Smythe took to Twitter on Sunday night after the Elle article was published and offered a rebuttal of sorts to those criticizing her choice of love interest and decision to leave her old life: "I realize it's hard for many people to accept that 1. Martin is not a psychopath, and 2. a woman can choose to do something with her life (which does not affect you) that you in no way approve of. But that's OK."
I realize it's hard for many people to accept that 1. Martin is not a psychopath, and 2. a woman can choose to do something with her life (which does not affect you) that you in no way approve of. But that's OK.— Christie Smythe (@ChristieSmythe) December 21, 2020
To the ones who sympathized with her, she said it was a 'relief' to be able to share her story.
"Going public is such a relief, no matter what people think. You have no idea how hard it is to keep this kind of a story bottled up. So messy and complicated. I'm glad it was told well."
Going public is such a relief, no matter what people think. You have no idea how hard it is to keep this kind of a story bottled up. So messy and complicated. I'm glad it was told well. https://t.co/bJFPDG4lw6— Christie Smythe (@ChristieSmythe) December 21, 2020
The Elle Magazine piece can be read here.