Crypto Twitter wasn’t in the room where it happened, but the chattering class on the birdsite had plenty of thoughts about Sam Bankman-Fried’s one-on-one interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin as part of a New York Times conference.
The Dealbook Summit is an annual event hosted by the Times. and the session moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin is an award-winning journalist, CNBC anchor, and author of “Too Big to Fail,” the story of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the 2008 financial crisis. Sorkin is also the co-creator of the Showtime series Billions and the founder of Dealbook.
Sorkin asked Bankman-Fried if his lawyers suggested speaking at the conference was a good idea. “No,” Bankman-Fried replied. “They are very much not,” adding that he felt he had a duty to speak.
Ross Sorkin: “What are your lawyers telling you right now? Are they suggesting this is a good idea for you to be speaking?”
SBF: “No. They are very much not.” pic.twitter.com/cl5KDTVRpf
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) November 30, 2022
Even before the interview, the fact that Bankman-Fried was invited to speak at the conference sparked its own controversy.
“SBF should be sitting in a jail right now, but instead he is giving an interview on the New York Times Dealbook summit,” tweeted Carl Menger.
SBF should be sitting in a jail right now, but instead he is giving an interview on the New York Times Dealbook summit.
WTF is happening?https://t.co/i3pQOVZy3b
— Carl ₿ MENGER ⚡️ (@CarlBMenger) November 30, 2022
Others used SBF’s participation as a hook to mock the overall conference lineup, suggesting it was a collection of unsavory characters—including Jeffrey Epstein, Osama Bin Laden, and Voldemort.
As the Wednesday interview got underway, with Bankman-Fried and Sorkin speaking over video link to an in-person and virtual audience numbering in the thousands, the responses began to flow on Twitter.
During the interview, Bankman-Fried reiterated his claim that FTX US is fully funded and could begin withdrawals today. Some were understandably skeptical of the claim.
“It is pin-drop silent and tense in the room but SBF clearly cannot perceive that across the Zoom link, so he’s just sort of chatting with @andrewrsorkin like it’s any other Zoom call,” tweeted Nilay Patel, Editor-in-chief of The Verge.
It is pin-drop silent and tense in the room but SBF clearly cannot perceive that across the Zoom link, so he’s just sort of chatting with @andrewrsorkin like it’s any other Zoom call
— nilay patel (@reckless) November 30, 2022
“#SBF Allegedly one of the brightest people in the world,” wrote Tony Battista, host of the Options Trades Today podcast. “His defense? I didn’t understand the risk.”
#SBF Allegedly one of the brightest people in the world.
His defense? I didn’t understand the risk. @tastytrade
— Tony Battista (@Tony_BATtista) November 30, 2022
@andrewrsorkin: “The New York Times reported that $515 million was suspiciously transferred from FTX wallets after the bankruptcy filing. There have been accusations of theft. Where did that money go?@SBF_FTX “I will give you the answer to the extent that I know it….
— Edmund Lee (@edmundlee) November 30, 2022
“I made a lot of mistakes, never tried to commit fraud,” Bankman-Fried told the virtual audience. “I was not really cautious enough from a downside perspective. I was looking at a 30% down move; then what happened was a 95% down move,” he said.
“I remember when Bernie Madoff was caught and did that softball interview with the New York Times conference whilst chilling on the beach,” tweeted HubSpot’s Kieran Flanagan. “Oh wait, of course that didn’t happen.”
I remember when Bernie Madoff was caught and did that softball interview with the New York Times conference whilst chilling on the beach …
oh wait, of course that didn’t happen
Crazy people are finding this funny, including SBF pic.twitter.com/Dzp2xmFdHT
— Kieran Flanagan 🤘 (@searchbrat) November 30, 2022
Even those who attempted to defend Bankman-Fried received pushback.
“Call me crazy, but I think @sbf is telling the truth,” tweeted Bill Ackman, hedge fund manager and CEO of Pershing Square.
“Bill are you currently under duress?” replied Adam Singer, VP of Marketing at AdQuick.
The awkwardness of the interview setup was not missed by viewers, who decried the fact that the audience erupted in applause as the interview concluded.
THE CROWD ERUPTED IN APPLAUSE AS INTERVIEWER THANKS SAM BANKMAN FRIED FOR COMING ON… uhhhhhhh wut. this man is a psychopath criminal who just lied for an hr straight. pic.twitter.com/Y8deKwbc9a
— Coffeezilla (@coffeebreak_YT) November 30, 2022
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