“Let’s get you a drink. What do you drink? I drink Macallan.”
At Back Forty in Alphabet City late on Monday night sits a tall, formidable man responsible for one of the most famous anonymous Twitter accounts and the scandal attached to it. John LeFevre is @GSElevator. He is also a family man, fly fisherman and soon-to-be-published author. A boisterous bar presence, Mr. LeFevre is a far cry from the near-parody Twitter account he operates. (Sample tweets: “I could watch fat people getting out of cars all day long.” “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you have boobs.” “Hermes ties are like Jordans for white people.”)
I asked him about the Goldman Sachs Holiday Gift Guide, my favorite of his articles for Business Insider. Mr. LeFevre thinks that was the piece that did him in: “I have backgammon there and fly fishing. That’s what kills it. It’s not a fucking secret. I’m not trying to fucking hide. Everyone [his friends and family] was like, ‘You stupid motherfucker, we know this is you.’”
@GSelevator was built on a combination of personal events, like crashing his brand new Maserati, and a larger understanding of banker culture. Mixing in the personal with the generic appealed to his URL following, but his IRL friends started to notice, and began accusing him of running the account shortly thereafter.
Mr. LeFevre didn’t exactly live in fear of being outed, even though it led to his original book deal, said to be worth six figures from Simon & Schuster, to be canceled.
He claims it was always part of the plan, and he spoke about his former anonymity candidly. He was more concerned with the effect anonymity had on his wife than himself. The secret hurt her to keep. “I wasn’t married at the time,” he says, “but my wife, partner, she kind of got the deal. It was killing her.”
As for Andrew Ross Sorkin, the New York Times writer who outed him, Mr. LeFevre doesn’t hold a grudge. “Honestly I respect him. I respect everything Sorkin does, but not the way [he does it].” Mr. LeFevre also shed light on how exactly Mr. Sorkin broke the story that others had been chasing for almost three years: “His two sources are, obviously, Goldman Sachs was one of them. His other source is one of my ex-girlfriends. Mr. Sorkin is best friends with my ex-girlfriend’s father. He’s a big time hedge fund media type guy.”
Though Mr. Lefevre took the outing pretty well, he and Mr. Sorkin are far from friends. In fact, they have never met in person. Mr. LeFevre “almost invited him out tonight. He told me to call him when I was in town, but I never did.” Their relationship begins and ends in 140 characters or less.
While his tweets paint a picture of an arrogant, sometimes hateable and unfaithful blood money rich banker, the real Mr. LeFevre is a kind of normal financier in his 30s from Texas. As for his bar etiquette, he follows his own rules:
No. 3: Hefty tip to a very appreciative waitress.
No. 11: Asked the ladies present permission to purchase a round of drinks.
No. 19: Go-to drink at the ready: double Macallan, neat.
No. 20: He never took out his phone.
No. 21: Picked up the whiskey-heavy tab.
There might be a hint of @GSelevator in Mr. LeFevre’s real life, but the digital persona does not overcome his personality. “GSElevator illuminates a culture,” he says. “That was it. All it was.”