Price-gouging pharma CEO arrested; social media offers a mega-dose of snark

Martin Shkreli’s ‘perp walk’ prompted disgust-filled rants for the man who had raised the price of a prescription drug 5,000 percent. #Karma was one of the hashtags we saw on Twitter. UPDATE

People on Twitter sure do know their adjectives.

Descriptive words were posted on the social media platform Thursday morning as news spread that Martin Shkreli had been arrested. Federal agents in New York busted the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals and KaloBios Pharmaceuticals for alleged securities fraud related to his former hedge fund and a pharmaceutical company he previously led, Reuters reported.


At a midday press conference, prosecutors said the 32-year-old Shkreli “essentially ran his companies like a Ponzi scheme, where he used each subsequent company to pay off defrauded investors in the prior company.” Just a couple of hours later, Shkreli pleaded not guilty, posted $5 million bail and was released from jail.

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While the feds didn’t mince words, neither did the public, who voiced their disdain for Shkreli. Most of the tweets I’ve seen can’t be shared here, as the adjectives are four-letter words that readers could find offensive. This one was among the more tasteful:


Prior to his arrest, Shkreli had butchered his own reputation to the point that writer Eve Peyser felt obligated to share her online encounters with her fellow New Yorker. (Peyser’s work, by the way, has been published on and Buzzfeed, among others.)

What’s a journalist like Peyser to do when she finds herself on the dating website Tinder, matched with Shkreli ? Engage him in a bit of verbal sparring, of course.



The charges filed against Shkreli are not related to the price gouging incident at Turing. If found guilty, he could face 20 years behind bars. Still, the legal system doesn’t include crimes for being arrogant or mean, but The New York Times described Shkreli this way:

Mr. Shkreli’s story seems like that of the American dream run amok. He grew up in an apartment in Brooklyn, the son of Albanian immigrants who worked janitorial jobs, yet he made millions of dollars… But Mr. Shkreli has seemed to enjoy his time in the limelight. He has lashed back at his critics, through Twitter and other means, and has live-streamed hours upon hours of himself working, playing video games and ruminating about stocks and his life. Recently it became known that he had been the buyer of the only copy of a new album by Wu-Tang Clan.

This one’s a personal and industry crisis, among others.

UPDATE: Shkreli resigned from Turing one day after his arrest.

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