When Eve Peyser, a writer and comedian based in New York City, went on Tinder recently, she found someone who was more than a potential hookup — she found “one of the most hated men in America,” drug company executive Martin Shkreli.
Shrkeli is the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, which recently announced plans to raise the cost of Daraprim, a drug used with other meds to treat toxoplasmosis, which is sometimes a complication of HIV, by 5,000 percent, from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Shrkeli then walked back that statement and said the company wouldn’t raise the price quite that much, but hasn’t said how much the drug will end up costing.
“When I saw [Shrkeli’s] face pop up in my Tinder matches, I had to swipe right, especially because I had just written an article mocking his OkCupid account,” Peyser writes in a Mic piece published Monday. “I immediately knew it was him, although his profile description, ‘American entrepreneur,’ was a little vague.”
“I was curious to know how he felt about being pilloried for something his industry did on a regular basis,” Peyser continues. “But I also wanted to know why he did what he did.” She started out by playing coy and acting like she was interested in him romantically, but found she “couldn’t resist asking him if he was ‘DTGMAD,’ or ‘down to give me AIDS drugs?’”
They exchanged a few more messages, with Shrkeli criticizing how the story of the price hike has been reported and defending capitalism. Peyser wanted to go deeper into the latter subject, but Shrkeli severed their connection after she asked if he was the “Snowden of AIDS drugs,” referring to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked confidential information about government surveillance of citizens.
Screen grabs of their conversation have gone viral, but Peyser, while deploring Shrkeli’s business decision, came away thinking of him and other Tinder matches with a bit more sympathy.
“Did I want Martin’s face in my home? Certainly not,” she concludes. “But I do believe that Martin Shkreli believes he is doing good for the world, or else he wouldn’t have engaged with me. And even though Martin Shkreli is the current face of all that is wrong with capitalism, I do have sympathy for the guy. After all, even questionably sociopathic pharma bros deserve to get laid.”