Earlier this week, Turing Pharmaceuticals of New York sparked outrage by raising the price of an AIDS-fighting drug from $13.50 a tablet to $750. The story took an unexpected turn when the media realized he was the financial backer of Collect Records, a well-liked independent punk label run by Geoff Rickly, current frontman of No Devotion, United Nations, and formerly, Thursday.
Turing CEO and founder Martin Shkreli agreed to lower the price of the drug in question -- Daraprim -- following the outcry, but the controversy will likely linger.
Speaking to Noisey yesterday, Rickly called the price hike “completely heartbreaking,” but implied that he was only beginning to process the issue and had not made any formal decisions on his future with Shkreli.
Shkreli, a 32-year old former hedge fund manager, approached Rickly as a fan, offering to provide financial support for his label, now home to acts like Nothing and Wax Idols and known for its artist-friendly deals. He purchased the guitar Rickly used on Thursday’s Full Collapse and has been photographed wearing a Brand New shirt.
Rickly urged onlookers to remember capitalism’s role in the issue, beyond his dealings with Shkreli and the price gouging. “Ultimately I see this going in the same way it always does, where all the artists get blamed for everything and capitalism is never held accountable… I’m not making excuses for what has happened, but there is no corner of the music industry that doesn’t live and breathe from subsidies from business.”
Nothing’s Nicky Money bluntly said, “Nothing will never be a part of a label that involves Martin.“ Sick Feeling and Creepoid, both Collect artists, have issued similar statements.
Following the initial outcry, Turing sold the rights to Diaprim back to its original owner, which plans to sell it for double its original price. However, Rickly decided today (Sept. 23) to sever all ties with Shkreil, effective immediately. "Never in a million years did any of us expect to wake up to the news of the scandal that he is now involved in,” Rickly wrote. “It blindsided and upset us on every level.” For his complete statement, head to Collect Records’ Facebook page.
Shkreli has locked his Twitter account, but NBC News pointed out he tweeted lyrics to Eminem’s “The Way I Am” regarding his feelings: “…And it seems like the media immediately points a finger at me so I point one back at em, but not the index or pinkie.”