In the year 2017, justice can seem in short supply. But on Friday, as news broke that pharma-bro-turned-internet-troll Martin Shkreli was convicted of securities fraud, schadenfreude circulated through the online masses; justice, for this one brief moment, had been served.
It can be tough to keep a running mental list of all the reasons the good people of the internet despise Shkreli—and the bad ones adore him. Back in 2015, the pharma CEO endeavored to raise the price of Daraprim, a drug that (among other things) treats people with HIV/AIDS, from $13.50 to a whopping $750 per tablet. He then spent the next two years embracing the role of cartoon villain, dropping $2 million for the only existing copy of a Wu Tang Clan album and hobnobbing with a who’s who of internet trolls at the so-called Deploraball the night before President Donald Trump’s inauguration. By the time Shkreli was booted off of Twitter this January for harassing Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca, his face had earned its rightful place among the top Google Image searches for the term “worst people.”
However, none of that is why he now faces up to 20 years in prison. Shkreli was essentially accused of a Ponzi scheme that involved misleading investors at the financial firms MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare, and using money from his pharmaceutical firm Retrophin to pay off investors and cover other debts. On Friday, Shkreli was found guilty of two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy.
In the court of public opinion, though, he was found guilty of what so many Twitter users might call being a douchebag long ago. Here’s a look back at why:
Daraprim Price Gouging
Shkreli launched Turing Pharmaceuticals in February 2015 with plans to negotiate drug prices for profit. In August, he acquired the license to sell Daraprim, a medication which had been on the market since 1953 and whose patent had expired. By September, word began to spread that Shkreli had radically increased the price of each pill, an injustice that caught the eye of then-presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and yes, even Donald Trump. Shkreli defended the price hike in an interview with CBS News saying, “There’s no doubt, I’m a capitalist. I’m trying to create a big drug company, a successful drug company, a profitable drug company.”
Initially, Shkreli suggested he might reverse course on the decision to hike the price of the drug. Then, in November of 2015, he changed his mind yet again. It went over about as well as you’d expect.
Beefing With Bernie
One of Shkreli’s earliest trolls came in the form of a $2,700 donation to Bernie Sanders, perhaps the most vocal presidential candidate on the issue of pharmaceutical price gouging. Sanders rejected the donation, funneling the money instead to a health clinic. Shkreli responded from his now-defunct Twitter handle, writing, “SO ANGRY AT @BernieSanders I COULD PUNCH A WALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1”
Speaking of that Twitter account, it soon became a dumping ground of Shkreli’s narcissistic rants.
“In DC. If any politicians want to start, come at me,” read one early tweet from November 2015.
“50-100 date solicitations a day for me, the world’s most eligible bachelor. Sorry, but you have to be a shareholder to meet me,” read another.
And those were the halcyon days before he launched a harassment campaign against critics and journalists, including Taylor Lorenz, formerly of Mic.com, and Duca. Shkreli ranted to Lorenz in August of 2016 that she is “just generic poor trash” and “pretty ugly! Add poor to the mix and you’ve got a TOTAL loser.”
That was tame compared to his online assault of Duca. After Shkreli propositioned Duca via Twitter direct message, the Teen Vogue columnist responded with this, albeit indelicate, rejection.
Shkreli replied by photoshopping Duca into his profile picture and changing his cover photo to a collage of photos of Duca. Duca reported Shkreli’s cyberstalking to Twitter, which kicked him off the platform in January of 2017. But that didn’t stop Shkreli’s legions of online loyalists from sending Duca death and rape threats last winter. “Some of those rape threats came through on Christmas Day,” Duca wrote in a Teen Vogue story about her experience.
In an interview with the New York Post, meanwhile, Shkreli expressed little remorse, saying, “I think it would help her to be a little more intelligent and a little less dramatic.”
Wu Tang Hoarding
Perhaps the oddest, if not the most odious, of Shkreli’s misdeeds came in 2015 when he coughed up $2 million for the only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin—an album that the group stipulated could not then be sold in any form until 2103.
Shkreli’s abundant greed ignited the internet flame war all over again.
The financial windfall didn’t exactly go over well with Wu Tang’s team either, who had finalized the deal before Shkreli was a household name. “Jesus—if he was Pharma Bro now, what the fuck would happen when people found out he bought this fucking album?” wrote Cyrus Bozorgmehr, senior adviser on Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, in his similarly titled book about the album. “The mind boggled. And not in a good way.”
Shkreli’s arrest back in 2015 for the crimes that led to Friday’s conviction gave his many haters a brief opportunity to celebrate.
When he was released a day after the arrest, he took to his personal YouTube channel to livestream the aftermath. He showed off his mediocre guitar skills, talked about his crush on Lindsay Lohan, played interminable rounds of online chess, and once claimed to receive—and hang up on—a call from an FBI agent mid-stream.
After his conviction Friday, Shkreli posted yet another video, taking callers from his fans across the country, and claiming he’s learned his lesson. But he also used the stream to repeatedly joke about Miss Kentucky calling in to offer him sexual favors. So perhaps there’s room for further reformation.