Tiffany Fong, the YouTuber who interviewed disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried when he was under investigation in November for the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange, has blasted the way right-leaning tabloids “sexualized” her in their coverage of her late-night visit to his parents’ Palo Alto home where he is under house arrest.

Fong confirmed Wednesday that she had visited Bankman-Fried Tuesday night, with  The Daily Mail and the New York Post quoting her as saying that he “remains surprisingly optimistic, although aware of (the gravity of his situation).” She was referring to the potential maximum 115-year prison sentence he faces if convicted on fraud and money laundering charges. The Palo Alto-reared ex-billionaire was arrested on Dec. 12 in the Bahamas, where FTX was headquartered.

Fong wouldn’t say much else about what she and the alleged 30-year-old fraudster discussed in the home of his parents, Stanford Law professors Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried. But she wasn’t happy about how the New York Post and the Daily Mail tried to sensationalize her visit and sex up her image, the Daily Beast reported.

The New York Post’s story began: “FTX bad boy Sam Bankman-Fried’s cushy house arrest was brightened up Tuesday by a visit from a sexy single crypto influencer.” The Daily Mail described her as “glamorous,” and Fong blasted both on Twitter for including “irrelevant” photos of her in a bikini in their coverage, the Daily Beast said.

“Jesus (expletive) Christ,” Fong tweeted about this tweet from the Post.

The New York Post’s story also began: “FTX bad boy Sam Bankman-Fried’s cushy house arrest was brightened up Tuesday by a visit from a sexy single crypto influencer.”  Fong also tweeted that she “obviously was not wearing a bikini” during her meeting with Bankman-Fried, adding that the Post had acted “pretty gross” since it “decided to creep thru old pics” of her Instagram.

In their stories, both outlets emphasized that Fong had gotten Bankman-Fried to address rumors about his polyamorous sex life during their phone interview in November. Fong also suggested that reporters for the Post and Daily Mail pressed her about whether she and Bankman-Fried were sexually involved. The Daily Mail, in fact, said, “despite the late-night meeting and previous discussions of his sex life, Fong clarified that ‘we do not have an intimate relationship.’”

Fong noted that author Michael Lewis reportedly visited Bankman-Fried last week, soon after the mop-haired entrepreneur arrived back at his childhood home on Stanford’s campus after posting a massive $250 million bond. Fong wrote: “Michael Lewis actually ‘spent several hours’ with Sam Bankman-Fried before I did. Is Michael Lewis being sexualized & bombarded with questions about whether or not they (had sex)?”

It was first reported by the entertainment newsletter, The Ankler, that Lewis, the Berkeley journalist who penned “Moneyball” and “The Big Short,” has been “embedded” with Bankman-Fried the past six months, in order to write a book about life and his specular rise and fall in the crypto world. Lewis’ publisher also has reportedly been shopping the movie rights to his book about Bankman-Fried to studios.

When Fong spoke to the Daily Mail and the Post, she said that her meeting with Bankman-Fried was all business. The Post said that Fong “met the ankle-monitored former billionaire in the home’s library and their chat was strictly business.”

The New York Post reported that Bankman-Fried’s parents needed to give permission for Fong’s visit, which the New York-based influencer said took place while she was visiting family in nearby San Francisco. Sources told the Post that the law professors have to “formally approve” any visitors as part of the terms for his house arrest. The Daily Mail quoted Fong as saying that Bankman and Fried “are having a difficult time” but “he’s mentioned that they’ve been continually supportive.”

While the Daily Beast referred to Fong as “a journalist,” she calls herself a self-employed “Reluctant Crypto Content Creator” on LinkedIn. She also didn’t describe herself as a “journalist” when she posted her interview with Bankman-Fried, New York magazine said. She furthermore admitted it was her “first time interviewing literally anyone, ever.”

Still, Fong nonetheless caught him at a time when he seemed stunned by how the world had turned on him so quickly following the collapse of his $32 billion exchange, New York magazine said. He also was under multiple investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities Exchange Commission.

New York magazine said Fong’s interview with Bankman-Fried revealed how he used his extensive donations to both Democrats and Republicans to craft his “effective altruist” persona as an entrepreneur who uses his fortune to benefit worthy causes. Bankman-Fried notably revealed that his donations to Republicans were via dark-money groups that obscure the source of funding.

“The reason was not for regulatory reasons,” Bankman-Fried told Fong.” It’s because reporters freak the (expletive) out if you donate to Republicans, they’re all super-liberal, and I didn’t want to have that fight.”

Bankman-Fried was less forthcoming when Fong asked about FTX’s bankruptcy or reports about how he funneled FTX investor money to his hedge fund, Alameda Research, for private trading purposes. As for the Post and Daily Mail saying that Fong got Bankman-Fried to open up about his supposed polyamorous lifestyle, Bankman-Fried actually slammed reporters for their interest in it, saying they were trying to chase page views by writing about his sexual choices.

“We as a society have, in my humble opinion — I spent about enough time this week trying to figure out whether anyone living in Albany was polyamorous,” he said referring to the posh resort in the Bahamas where FTX was headquartered.

“I feel like I’ve answered that question a lot, and the answer is too boring for people to believe,” Bankman-Fried said.


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