If someone were to say Martin Shkreli has one of the most punchable faces in recent memory, it wouldn't be a stretch. After crash-landing into the public eye for jacking up the prices of an accessible drug by 5,000 percent, it's safe to say Shkreli is one of the most maligned figures of our time.
Dubbed "Pharma Bro" after the aforementioned price-gouging scandal, Shkreli has continued his unwavering trajectory into the depths of public hatred by buying the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan's latest album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, sitting on it, playing it during random interviews, then attempting to sell it on eBay. (Shkreli also has his hands on a copy of the Carter V—how? He bought Lil Wayne's old Bugatti, which had the physical CD still in it. I wish I were joking.)
Because the universe is just at times, Shkreli was convicted of two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiring to commit securities fraud in August, after being accused of running a "Ponzi-like scheme." The trial itself was slow to progress, as the court had a difficult time finding unbiased jurors who wouldn't say things like, "I’m aware of the defendant and I hate him" and, "I just walked in and looked right at him and that’s a snake."
Graham Dunn, 20, is a dramatic writing student at NYU and aspiring TV comedy writer. A couple years ago, it dawned on him that he kind of, sort of, looks like troll/creep/Fuck Boy No. 1, Martin Shkreli. Then, a bunch of other people started noticing. On Monday, Dunn published a post titled "I Look Like Martin Shkreli and It’s Ruining My Life" on NYU Local, a student-run, independently funded campus blog. Complex reached out to Dunn to talk about what it's like to be a doppelgänger for one of the most hated men in the country.
When did you realize that you resemble Martin Shkreli?
Honestly, I didn't realize it until other people pointed it out to me. I think I was at a party and someone said, "Hey, you look like Martin Shkreli." I had never considered it. I was aware of him and his public presence, but he was just a person I tried to keep away from me and my personal life. As with most things, he ruined that.
Can you take me back to the first moment, or one of the most resonant moments when someone mistook you for Martin?
I have been stopped in the street. I think the scariest one was at night time, just because it was a person who seemed to have been personally affected by Shkreli and his actions. They seemed genuinely vengeful toward me. I wasn't sure what would happen if I were Martin Shkreli: I think best case scenario, I was going to get a piece of his mind. The worst case scenario, I was going to get hurt in some way. People are very angry and vitriolic about this man. Now, I just kind of laugh it off and say, "Yeah, I'm kind of smarmy and weird-looking, but I can't change that."
Has it ever gotten physical? Has anyone ever tried to attack you because of who you look like?
[Laughs.] No, I think most people at least check before they take it to that stage.
What is your reaction when people approach you?
Again, I just try to laugh it off. I think the most commonly occurring interaction that happens is people say, "Are you Martin Shkreli?" And I say something along the lines of, "No, but don't you wish I was?" I try to make a joke out of everyone's shared hatred of this person. Something we can all relate to.
How often does this happen?
It's quieted down recently. I'd say once every couple of months, someone makes a comment—whether it's someone I know or someone I don't know. But it's calmed down. I'm trying to move myself away from how he looks physically, taking a little bit better care of myself.
What are some of the things you're doing to try to visually separate yourself from him?
I've been cutting my hair a lot shorter. I'm standing up a little straighter—I don't know if you've ever seen him in action, but he's very hunched over, he plays with his fingers, he sort of moves his neck around. Coincidentally, I've had a similar posture for a lot of my life. So I've been trying not to.
Is it working?
I suppose you could say it's working; like I said, I have been getting fewer comments about it. But I think there are some things I just can't change.
What's life like on campus? Are people more aware, or informed, than to think Martin would be wandering around?
I think he's sort of fallen off the face of the earth just a little bit. When you do hear about him, it's really few and far between, especially compared to how it used to be when he was every other thing you would hear about: "Martin Shkreli did another dick-ish thing in the news." I think people kind of stopped paying attention. So, a lot of people don't know that he's going to jail for fraud. I have gotten comments about it since he's been out of the public eye, but I think people just don't know that he's not walking around the Village.
What do you have to say to anyone who closely resembles a hated figure?
I think at some point, you just have to embrace it. I just turned it into a piece of comedy.