The online community including some cryptocurrency figures has condemned the latest so-called “sympathy” article from The New York Times written about FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
In the Dec. 26 article published titled "In the Bahamas, a Lingering Sympathy for Sam Bankman-Fried," New York Times journalist Rob Copeland quotes local Bahamians who appeared to have mostly positive things to say about the cryptocurrency exchange founder.
One resident opined he had a “good heart,” with another local saying they “feel bad for him.” A resident interviewed for the article even said it “doesn't make any sense” that Bankman-Fried’s alleged crimes landed him in prison.
The article suggests that the glowing reviews of Bankman-Fried by locals stem from his millions of dollars in donations to local charities, churches and government entities, including the police. The FTX founder's plans to build a hotel and FTX's head office there were considered another positive by locals.
Cryptonator, a self-described “crypto-degen,” said Bankman-Fried “did it like Pablo Escobar” with regard to his donations to local charities and the government. Escobar, a notorious Columbian narcoterrorist and drug lord, spent millions of dollars building infrastructure and donating to charity in an attempt to garner favor with locals.
Only one person interviewed for the article appeared negative about the billions of dollars of alleged fraud by the FTX founder, which included stealing customer funds, saying it gave them a “negative outlook on crypto.”
Perhaps one of the most egregious parts of the article was a section where it calls Bankman-Fried’s years-long alleged fraud “troublesome” but “hardly comparable to the gang violence” on the island of New Providence.
Olayemi Olurin, a native Bahamian and New York public defender, posted a video to Twitter blasting the article, saying:
“The lengths they will go to try to prop up this white collar criminal and they immediately start trying to criminalize a black nation [with gang violence]. The Bahamas is not some gang violence-ridden country get the fuck out of here.”
“Bahamians do not give a fuck about that man,” she added.
Others in the crypto community came forward to criticize the piece.
Crypto newsletter founder Alex Valaitis said he “can’t believe your joke of an organization continues to try to publish puff pieces on the biggest fraud since Madoff.” Bernie Madoff was found guilty of running the largest Ponzi scheme to date to the tune of nearly $65 billion.
Podcast host Scott Melker said the article was “astoundingly absurd and inappropriate” and likened The New York Times to United States tabloid newspaper the National Enquirer.
Bankman-Fried was arrested on Dec. 12 on multiple charges relating to wire fraud and money laundering. He was extradited to the U.S. on Dec. 21 and is currently out on bail after his parents posted their Palo Alto home as collateral for the $250 million bond.