Pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli first became infamous for hiking one of his drug's prices 5,000 percent overnight. This was, to many, appalling. But Shkreli isn't the first drug executive to hike his price, and he won't be the last. As Quartz reported in October, "Massive, unexpected drug price increases are happening all the time."
What sets Shkreli apart — why the BBC has repeatedly dubbed him "the most hated man in America" — is his bombastic public personality. Shkreli is hyper-active on Twitter, where he regularly spars with followers. He boasts about his success, both professionally and personally. To scroll through his 7,000 tweets is to see a man who appears to derive great joy from pushing America's buttons.
Shkreli loves to boast regularly about his dating success, like this tweet from Tuesday.
50-100 date solicitations a day for me, the world's most eligible bachelor. Sorry, but you have to be a shareholder to meet me.— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 14, 2015
@FilthyRichmond looking for a date? march 2016 earliest availability— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 9, 2015
These tweets are typical of Shkreli, who also likes to boast of his wealth. He appears to be a big fan of the Twitter account Cashcats, which shows (as the name implies) cats boasting over how much money they have. He retweeted this tweet from them:
stuntin like my daddy pic.twitter.com/tJOx8QUpOc— Cashcats (@CatsAndMoney) November 23, 2015
Shkreli typically dismisses his opponents callously. That includes Hillary Clinton; he responded to her criticisms of his drug pricing with a three-letter tweet: "lol."
Less well-known critics get a similar treatment.
Shkreli's most recent topic of Twitter conversation is the single physical copy of a new Wu-Tang Clan album that he purchased. After that news broke in December, he quickly took to Twitter to boast about the new purchase.
Within 10 years, more than half of all rap/hip-hop music will be made exclusively for me. Don't worry--I will share some of it.— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 13, 2015
Shkreli has trolled the internet about the purchase, running polls on whom he should purchase a private album from next or whether he should change one of his companies' names to Wu-Tang Pharmaceuticals.
Should one of my companies change its name to Wu-Tang Pharmaceuticals? (Lawsuits be damned).— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 11, 2015
Shkreli clearly knows what he's doing. He understands these tweets lead to public outrage, that they drive his followers nuts. He made that point well in a tweet on Tuesday — three days prior to his arrest. Tweeting at a film student who doesn't appear to have tweeted anything at him at all, he wrote, "I am the original internet troll, child."