Sam Bankman-Fried on his T-shirt & Shorts, Toyota Corolla & Faking Covid to ditch the Met Gala

A snippet from a conversation with SBF January 11, 2023 while he was still on house arrest.


Tiffany Fong: feel like I've seen articles that say that your whole persona and your dress and attire were very carefully calculated.

SBF: So, it was... they weren't. Like, it was natural. But, I was aware of what persona it created, and like... I think the biggest thing that it was, was it was authentic, and I very intentionally didn't do things that a lot of people would do that would clamp down on the authenticity and so like one example is like I got invited to the... what do you call it? Jeez, that big party everyone dresses up for each year in New York.

Tiffany Fong: MET Gala?

SBF: Yeah, and I didn't end up going. I was gonna go. I faked Covid to get out of it. Do you just hate going to those things? I would have hated it. It would have been really unpleasant. But the other thing was, I realized I didn't have time to prepare for it. Because if I just wore a tux, it would have been bad PR wise.

Like, it would have just obviously been fake and inauthentic. And so what I wanted to do was show up in shorts and a t shirt. But actually, it would have been too offensive and so, like, there's an incredibly thin line to thread there in terms of like... what I could do that was simultaneously authentic, but also like paid homage to the event and I think the thing we came up with in the end was to get a famous designer to make a custom pair of khakis and a t shirt.

Tiffany Fong: That's smart.

SBF: And like that would have been the thing that thread that line and it would been like just offensive enough that it would have not seemed fake, but it would have been like just sort of fancy enough and like clearly enough thought and time had gone into it that it would like be interpreted as a fashion statement by the fashionistas rather than as disrespect. But we didn't have time to make that happen. So, I.

Tiffany Fong: That would have actually been really good.

SBF: It would have been cool. It was... We talked this out two days before the gala and, and it was like, 'ah shit, we're not going to get this done in time.' Like, um, and so that was an example where like, it's not that like, it was a fake persona, but like most people would have just worn the tux there. And I basically just felt like it's, will undermine my brand if I, basically if I'm ever inauthentic.

Tiffany Fong: Yeah.

SBF: And so, um, that was like... that was basically the core of it, and like... you know, with the, with... and the car for instance, like, the car I drove was a car I naturally would have ended up with. Someone at the company tried to get me a fancy car, and I basically said, 'No. I don't care and it's gonna look bad.'

And like, and so it was reverting to the thing which was in fact natural and authentic, but, but it... it sometimes took effort to do that because sometimes randomly something would have intervened and so that was the extent to which it was like, I don't know, to which it was 'sculpted.' It was sort of sculpting the outliers that would be inconsistent. Yeah. And it was, I don't know, a lot of things like that worked together to like, And they're all dumb. None of them should matter. But like, I don't know, people judge on dumb shit.

Tiffany Fong: Yeah.

SBF: Like it's how the world is.

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