Sep 7, 2022 • 12M

Chapter 6, Part 8: F*cked up gifted kids

This is Chapter 6, Part 8 of SMIRK, a serialized memoir of my relationship with “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli.

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My experiences uncovering the story of, and falling in love with, Martin Shkreli.
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Illustration of school books. (By Shannon Loys)

“I am a very determined person, Ms. Pierotti.” 

That was a line from a letter Martin Shkreli sent in January 2013 as part of a campaign of stalking and harassment he launched against a former employee, Tim Pierotti, and his family. In the letter, Martin claimed Pierotti “stole” about $1.5 million or $1.6 million worth of stock in drug startup Retrophin, and the young founder threatened to make the family “homeless” if the shares were not returned.

The first time I read the full letter in 2015, after it was made public as part of a lawsuit, I was horrified by its venom — especially because it was directed at Pierotti’s wife, who had nothing to do with the underlying dispute. But as I read it again more closely, in the context of Martin’s other disturbing tactics, such as bothering Pierotti’s children on social media, I had another thought: The whole episode struck me as a bit sad.

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