Sam Bankman-Fried said he thought the wild DM exchange between him and a reporter was a conversation with a 'longtime friend' who he 'stupidly forgot' was a journalist




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  • Following the FTX collapse, the founder and former CEO exchanged wild DMs with a Vox reporter.

  • Sam Bankman-Fried said Wednesday he didn't realize the conversation would be public.

  • Bankman-Fried made the comments in a long and at times awkward interview with The New York Times.

Sam Bankman-Fried said he didn't realize the infamous direct message exchange he had with a Vox reporter would be public, claiming he thought the journalist was a "longtime friend."

The Twitter direct messages were published by Vox on November 16, days after his cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, collapsed. Among the eye-popping messages, the founder and former CEO said regulators "make everything worse" and that he regretted FTX filing for bankruptcy.

Bankman-Fried was asked about the exchange during an interview with The New York Times's Andrew Ross Sorkin at the Times's DealBook Summit on Wednesday.

"This was not meant to be a public interview. It was a longtime friend of mine who I stupidly forgot was also a reporter," Bankman-Fried said, adding: "I'm not sure what they thought the capacity was at the time, but it certainly ended up being reported on."

The reporter, Kelsey Piper, is a staff writer at Vox and has worked there since 2018, according to her LinkedIn.

In a statement provided to Insider, Vox spokesperson Lauren Starke refuted Bankman-Fried's claims. She said Piper interviewed Bankman-Fried in May while reporting out a profile and that "several years prior they interacted directly a handful of times through overlapping social and professional networks."

"Any suggestion that he forgot she's a journalist is not credible - in addition to the May interview, she is clearly identified as a reporter in her Twitter bio," Starke continued. "She notified him from her Vox email, where her signature clearly shows that she is a Vox reporter, that she planned to write about their on-the-record exchange, and he made no objection in his reply prior to publication."

In the Vox story publishing the messages, Piper wrote she had a Zoom interview with Bankman-Fried over the summer for a profile she was working on. After news broke of FTX imploding, she said she messaged him via Twitter seeking comment but didn't expect him to respond since he was the subject of several investigations.

Piper said he got back to her a few days later, resulting in the direct message exchange, of which screenshots were published by Vox. During the exchange, Piper also mentioned the conversation the two had over the summer.

Generally, when speaking to a reporter, a conversation is considered on the record unless otherwise discussed and agreed upon.

In a lengthy Twitter thread published shortly after the DMs came out, Bankman-Fried also referred to the Piper as his "friend."

"Last night I talked to a friend of mine. They published my messages. Those were not intended to be public, but I guess they are now," he wrote.

Bankman-Fried on Wednesday did a long, and at times awkward, interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at The New York Times's DealBook Summit, covering everything from refuting reports that FTX and Alameda employees were fueled by drugs to calling his parents as FTX was collapsing.

Bankman-Fried, acknowledging his lawyers did not want him to be interviewed, said of the FTX fiasco: "I have had a bad month."

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