The “most hated” man in America, Martin Shkreli, bought an elusive Wu-Tang clan album for US$2 million on Wednesday. (The New York rap collective revealed last year that it had recorded only one copy of a 31-track double-album entitled “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” kept in a vault with a leather-bound 174-page lyric book, waiting for a buyer.)
Shortly after news spread of the pharmaceutical tycoon’s buy, an alleged “clause” in the contract agreement appeared on the internet — which has been revealed as a hoax — that stated “Wu-Tang Clan and/or actor Bill Murray” have the legal right to “plan and attempt to execute one (1) heist or caper to steal back ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,’ which, if successful, would return all ownership rights to the seller.”
The clause was crafted in jest out of the general public consensus about Shkreli’s character, and was an attempt to inject humour into the situation. It turns out the internet en masse is none too pleased that Shkreli has $2 million to spend on the special album.
Wu-Tang member RZA even poked a bit of fun at Shkreli on 广州蒲友:
I wish you would. https://t.co/Lbk9Vgzuse
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 11, 2015
Shkreli joked (sort of) about honouring the hoax clause:
I would honor the proposed Bill Murray & WTC amendment to the album purchase agreement. Just know, I am not the one to steal on.
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 10, 2015
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The 32-year-old executive teased Wu-Tang Clan fans about his purchase, writing on 广州蒲友 that he “may play something special.”
The agreement forbade Shkreli from reselling “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” but gave him the right to stream it for free online.
The entrepreneur is best known to the public after his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, in September decided to raise the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat HIV-positive people, from $13.50 to $750.
“No one — including Martin Shkreli — should have the power to price-gouge American families,” Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton said at the time, with Republican candidate and fellow tycoon Donald Trump calling Shkreli “a spoiled brat.”
One of Shkreli’s favorite ways of self-expression is a livestream of himself on YouTube, in which he speaks about chemical molecules or surfs dating sites.
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“It’s good because people get to see what I’m like, and most people are like, ‘Oh, you’re not as bad as I thought’,” he said in November.
The Wu-Tang Clan — which has fashioned itself as socially conscious, despite frequent feuds with other rappers — found itself on the defensive after Shkreli was revealed as the buyer.
“The sale of ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Skhreli’s (sic) business practices came to light,” RZA, generally seen as the leader of the ensemble, said in a statement.
“We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity.”
With files from The Associated Press
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