Regardless of what you think of Martin Shkreli, and it is frankly hard not to have strong opinions about the guy, a Brooklyn judge’s decision on September 13, 2017 to revoke his bail privileges based on a Facebook post (now deleted) in which he offered, according to the A. P., “to pay a $5,000 bounty for a Hillary Clinton hair with the follicle” raises a whole new host of issues to consider. While most of the discussion will be focused on what counts as protected speech, and particularly if the original post was intended as satire, a less pressing though nonetheless interesting question regarding whether the judge’s decision was also intended to protect Clinton’s DNA needs to be discussed.
While Brooklyn-based artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg has undoubtedly received less press than Shkreli and his antics, her DNA-based portraits , have left many of us thinking about the very real issues related to identity theft in an age of mechanized biological reproduction. So what exactly was the judge protecting with this ruling? Clinton’s safety or her DNA, or both?
Although Shkreli’s original Facebook post has been removed, there have been several reports on its contents from different sources. According to The Hill, which is the publication that broke the story, the contents of the post read: “The Clinton Foundation is willing to KILL to protect its secrets. So on [Hillary Clinton’s] book tour, try to grab a hair from her. I must confirm the sequences I have. Will pay $5,000 per hair obtained from Hillary Clinton. Payment after the sequence matches. Good luck, patrollers.”
Links to Legal Documents Filed in Shkreli Case