Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli (you remember he jacked the price of an HIV drug by 5,000 percent after buying the company) is on trial for securities fraud, and a gay investor in Shkreli’s hedge fund and drug company testified yesterday about suggestive remarks Shkreli made to him.
Steven Richardson, a 63-year-old who also served as chairman of Shkreli’s drug company Retrophin, and has a domestic partner of 25 years, testified that Shkreli “was saying thing to me like, ‘Maybe I’ll have sex with a guy in the office.’ Or we’d be at a restaurant and there’d be waiter and he’d say, ‘Maybe I should hook up with him.’”
“I was gay and had a partner, and he was starting to say certain things of a gay nature that worried me a bit,” Richardson said. “I though maybe he was saying things to me because he thought I would want to hear them.”
“They just felt a bit uncomfortable to me,” Richardson said. “He was saying things like, ‘Maybe I’ll have sex with the guy in the office.’ “
“It didn’t feel comfortable to me,” Richardson said. He added that he knew the man who worked at Shkreli’s hedge fund and that man “was straight and had a girlfriend.”
When he told Shkreli that, Richardson said Shkreli replied, “‘Don’t worry, I’ll make it happen.'”
Richardson said he “felt the need to challenge” Shkreli on his comments. He invited Shkreli to his Manhattan apartment in early 2010, and while there began discussing relationships.
“He again started talking about this particular situation, about … maybe experimenting or having sex with this guy,” Richardson said.
“I said, ‘Come with me’ and walked him into the bedroom, and I sat him on the bed,” Richardson testified.
“I said, ‘You’re here, you are sitting in a gay man’s bedroom … do you have any physical feeling to me?'”
“And he said, ‘No, I like you a lot.'”
Richardson said he instructed Shkreli to cut out the gay talk and Shkreli then asked Richardson to be his “wingman” when he would go to pick up women, and Richardson agreed to do that.
It’s unclear how Richardson’s testimony about the gay remarks fit into the trial, though they do uphold Shkreli’s reputation as a pharma douche.
If you’ll recall, in September 2015, Shkreli hiked the price of the drug, used to help (among others) AIDS patients with compromised immune systems, from $13.50 a tablet to $750 per tablet. Turing announced it had raised $90 million from Shkreli and other investors in its first round of financing on the same day as the pricejacking.
Shkreli promised to drop the price of Daraprim shortly after public outcry but his solution pleased few.
And despite pledging to cut its price, Turing Pharmaceuticals announced it would only provide discounts of up to 50 percent, for hospitals. Shkreli later said he regretted that he hadn’t charged even more for the drug.