- Following FTX’s collapse, the founder and former CEO exchanged wild direct messages with a Vox reporter.
- Sam Bankman-Fried said Wednesday that he was unaware the conversation would be public.
- Bankman-Fried made the comments in a lengthy and sometimes awkward 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 would be public, claiming he thought the journalist was a “lifelong friend.”
The Twitter direct messages were published by Vox on November 16, days after its cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, crashed. Among the striking messages, the founder and former CEO said that regulators “make everything worse” and that he was sorry FTX filed for bankruptcy.
Bankman-Fried was asked about the trade during an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times at the Times DealBook Summit on Wednesday.
“This was not meant to be a public interview. It was an old friend of mine who I stupidly forgot was also a reporter,” Bankman-Fried said, adding: “I’m not sure what they thought the capacity was at the time.” , but certainly he ended up being informed.”
The reporter, Kelsey Piper, is a staff writer for Vox and has worked 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 reporting on a profile and that “several years earlier they interacted directly multiple times through overlapping social and professional networks.”
“Any suggestion that he forgot that she is a journalist is not credible; In addition to the May interview, she is clearly identified as a reporter in her Twitter bio,” Starke continued. “She notified him from her Vox email, where her signature clearly shows that she is a Vox reporter, that she planned to write about her official exchange, and he did not make any objection to her response before of the publication”.
In the Vox story posting the messages, Piper wrote that she had a Zoom interview with Bankman-Fried over the summer for a profile she was working on. After news of the FTX implosion broke, she said she messaged him via Twitter seeking comment, but she didn’t expect him to respond as he was the subject of several investigations.
Piper said he contacted her a few days later, resulting in a direct message exchange, of which Vox posted screenshots. During the exchange, Piper also brought up the conversation they had over the summer.
Generally, when speaking with a reporter, the conversation is considered recorded unless otherwise discussed and agreed.
in a long Twitter thread Posted shortly after the DMs went out, Bankman-Fried also referred to Piper as her “friend.”
“Last night I spoke with a friend of mine. They posted my posts. Those were not intended to be public, but I guess they are now,” he wrote.
On Wednesday, Bankman-Fried did a lengthy, and sometimes awkward, interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at The New York Times’ DealBook summit, covering everything from refuting reports that FTX and Alameda employees were fueled by drugs until calling his parents when FTX was collapsing.
Bankman-Fried, acknowledging that his lawyers did not want to be interviewed, said of the FTX fiasco: “I’ve had a bad month.”