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The world was shocked in 2020 when details emerged of a once-prominent Bloomberg News reporter who quit her job and left her husband to pursue a relationship with jailed “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, who promptly dumped her for speaking about the bizarre situation to Elle magazine.
Christie Smythe will detail her side of the story in a new Substack memoir, “SMIRK: How I Fell in Love With the Most Hated Man in America.”
Shkreli is serving a seven-year sentence for a 2017 conviction for lying to investors about the performance of two hedge funds he ran, withdrawing more money from those funds than he was entitled, and defrauding investors in a drug company, Retrophin, by hiding his ownership of some of its stock.
Martin Shkreli is serving a seven-year sentence for a 2017 conviction for lying to investors about the performance of two hedge funds he ran, withdrawing more money from those funds than he was entitled, and defrauding investors in a drug company, Retrophin, by hiding his ownership of some of its stock.
He first gained notoriety by buying the rights to a drug used to treat an infection that occurs in some AIDS, malaria and cancer patients and raising the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill, and he has been described as one of the most loathed people in America. He was banned from the pharmaceutical industry for life and ordered to pay almost $65 million.
Smythe was the first to break the news of his indictment for securities fraud, and eventually she fell in love with him. Elle magazine published the 2020 bombshell feature headlined, “The Journalist and the Pharma Bro: Why did Christie Smythe upend her life and stability for Martin Shkreli, one of the least-liked men in the world?”
The shocking story was the talk of the journalism industry, and Smythe is well-aware.
“If you were anywhere near the internet on Dec. 20, 2020 — when a splashy magazine profile describing my relationship with ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli was published — then you likely witnessed every journalist on Twitter collectively recoiling in horror,” Smythe wrote in an introductory piece.
“They weren’t recoiling just because I had openly admitted to caring for a very problematic guy, or that I did so while wearing fancy clothes in a fashion spread. Their reactions seemed triggered by the very idea that I had fallen in love with Martin at all, after writing about him as a reporter for a major news organization (which is where, by the way, I broke the story of his arrest on securities fraud charges),” she continued. “It didn’t matter to people that I didn’t date him while I was covering him, or even that I never slept with him.”
Smythe insists he “went to prison well before I seriously entertained” dating him.
“Nor did it matter that I had grappled painfully with the ethical quandaries for months before deciding to leave my job and pursue the romance, which was detailed in the piece,” Smythe wrote. “I had, to many people, forsaken my vows to the profession of journalism — for Martin Shkreli. Both were deemed not only unforgivable, but unthinkable.”
Smythe wrote that she will detail everything over the next year in a serialized memoir, including how her relationship with Shkreli evolved and how he reached out to her following the initial breakup.
“Some of the selections will be free. But some material will be available only to paying subscribers. Paying subscribers will also get access to extra photos, videos, emails and other background materials,” Smythe wrote.
Smythe previously spoke with Fox News’ Laura Ingle for a Fox Nation special “Falling for Pharma Bro,” which hit the streaming service last tear.