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The former FTX CEO was reportedly invited by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to be her special guest at the Met Gala, only to cancel at the last minute.
Michael Lewis, author of The Big Short, has painted an interesting picture of Sam “SBF’ Bankman-Fried in his soon-to-be-released book on the former FTX CEO.
In an excerpt of Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon published in the Washington Post on Oct. 1, Lewis describes several interactions Bankman-Fried had with the media and influential figures prior to the downfall of FTX and his criminal charges in the United States. According to the author, he would frequently play video games in the background during online interviews — his League of Legends exploits are well reported — often giving little attention to people, including Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
“Sam didn’t want to seem rude,” writes Lewis on SBF’s talk with Wintour. “It was just that he needed to be playing this other game at the same time as whatever game he had going in real life. His new social role as the world’s most interesting new child billionaire required him to do all kinds of dumb stuff. He needed something, other than what he was expected to be thinking about, to occupy his mind.”
At one point, Sam Bankman-Fried was worth $22.5 billion.
No one but Mark Zuckerberg had become richer faster.
Then his crypto empire collapsed.
Michael Lewis was there for the rise and fall. Read an exclusive excerpt from his book on SBF's last year: https://t.co/ie7rn8ZdSe pic.twitter.com/hkPwuT0H8B
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) October 2, 2023
Lewis adds that Natalie Tien, who moved into the role of FTX’s head of public relations and SBF’s “personal scheduler,” said the former CEO canceled many highly publicized appearances — often at the last minute — for seemingly no reason at all. The Wintour interview reportedly led to FTX’s sponsorship and Bankman-Fried as a special guest at the Met Gala, which he ended up snubbing.
“Sam treated everything on his schedule as optional,” says the book. “The schedule was less a plan than a theory. When people asked Sam for his time, they assumed they’d posed a yes or no question. [...] All he had done, when he said yes, was to assign some non-zero probability to the proposed use of his time. The dial would swing wildly as he calculated and recalculated the expected value of each commitment, right up until the moment he honored it or didn’t.”
Other in-person showings by Bankman-Fried included testifying before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee in December 2021 and meeting with Senator Mitch McConnell. The appearances marked some of the rare times SBF appeared in public wearing a suit instead of his usual T-shirt and shorts — though social media users pointed to footage of the then CEO’s shoes slipped on without being tied at the hearing.
It’s unclear what other information will become available once the book is released on Oct. 3, the same day jury selection begins for SBF’s criminal trial in New York. Amid the expected court proceedings, a slew of podcasts, news features, books and other media have been released, detailing aspects of Bankman-Fried’s life before and after the downfall of FTX. A 60 Minutes interview with Lewis revealed SBF had plans to pay off former U.S. President Donald Trump not to run for office again based on his perceived threat to elections and democracy as a whole.
On Oct. 4, Bankman-Fried will appear in a New York courtroom for the first day of his trial, scheduled to run through November. He will face seven charges related to fraud at FTX and Alameda Research, for which he has pleaded not guilty.
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