It’s said crime doesn’t pay, but Anna Delvey is giving it a really good go. She’s sold her story to Netflix, flogged her jail drawings, minted NFTs that offer holders exclusive access, and has now launched a podcast: with episodes recorded inside her East Village apartment where she remains under house arrest.
The show’s premise is shameless and bold, which is to be expected from someone who swindled socialites, glitzy hotels, and banks out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Now, you get to meet the real me,” she proclaims at the start of each episode. “I dive into the concept of rules and the people who make and break them,” she continues to an accompanying jingle seemingly appropriated from a low-rent infomercial.
Unsurprisingly, Delvey (née Sorokin) fails to deliver on either promise.
Delvey’s candid conversations with her guests don’t elucidate the how and why of her legendary cons. They do, however, offer spurious details on her worldview. We learn her take on an ideal funeral, the fact she’s definitely going to freeze her eggs, and her belief that being in jail is like going to a big boarding school.
So far, guests on have included actor Whitney Cummings, musician Julia Cumming, and artist and writer Kenny Schachter. The podcast promises future drop-ins by the likes of NFT evangelist Paris Hilton, playwright Jeremy O. Harris, and pharma bro Martin Shkreli.
For the most part, Delvey lobs questions at her subjects and then lets them talk. There are three types of Delvey questions: the staple, “have you ever been arrested?” trotted out in each episode; the banal, “have you ever thought about going blonde?” which she asks Cummings; and the pseudo-intellectual, “how is how the notion of class perceived in the music industry?” which she puts to Cumming.
Great public and media attention has been given to Delvey’s unplaceable accent—one Cummings describes as “assassin ass villain”—but the real star here is her laugh. It sounds like a squirrel simultaneously experiencing unimaginable distress and great delight. It occurs so frequently across the hour-long episodes that we begin to wonder precisely what Delvey finds so funny. The answer may well be us, the listener, for tuning in to begin with.
This leads to the inevitable question: is Delvey’s podcast breaching the Son of Sam law, by which criminals are prohibited from profiting from writings or shows about their crimes? It’s one that’s has recurred with each new Delvey venture and indeed the state of New York froze Sorokin’s funds in 2019, before unfreezing them in 2020 so she could pay off debts.
Certainly, Delvey seems aware of the jeopardy, given the reluctance with which she discusses her criminal wrongdoings on the podcast, though she’s extremely eager to joke and opine on prison life. Clearly, the podcast’s producer Audio Up feels it’s on sturdy legal ground—and it would know having also created the “Mea Culpa” podcast for Donald Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen.
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