Renowned cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried, the former head of FTX, made substantial payments to celebrities for endorsements before his empire collapsed due to allegations of misusing customer deposits for risky hedge fund bets. According to an interview with author Michael Lewis on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Bankman-Fried, who is currently facing charges of fraud and money laundering in a federal trial, paid $55 million to Tom Brady for 20 hours of work over three years.
Bankman-Fried aimed to enhance the legitimacy and visibility of his cryptocurrency exchange by seeking high-profile endorsements. Among those who received significant payments were basketball player Stephen Curry, who earned $35 million for a similar amount of work, and comedian Larry David, who was paid $10 million for appearing in a Super Bowl ad for FTX. These extravagant expenditures on celebrity promotions have come to light through Lewis’ examination of internal company documents.
Since the collapse of his empire, celebrities such as Brady, Curry, David, Giselle Bündchen (Brady’s former wife), Trevor Lawrence, and retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal have been entangled in class-action lawsuits filed by investors seeking compensation. These celebrities allegedly endorsed Bankman-Fried without being fully aware of his fraudulent activities, leading to disappointment and anger once the truth came to light. Lewis also noted that Bankman-Fried has become socially isolated and regarded as ‘toxic’ in the aftermath of the situation.
Analyzing the article for any potential political bias, it appears to be largely neutral. The focus remains on Bankman-Fried, the alleged fraud, and the involvement of celebrities, without delving into political parties or figures. The information provided seems primarily factual, although the author does express some subjectivity when describing the emotional reactions of the celebrities upon learning about Bankman-Fried’s criminal charges. It should be noted that Lewis’ perspective is based on his personal experience shadowing Bankman-Fried during the period of the alleged crimes.
This article is 70% likely to be factual news based on my current analysis.