Elizabeth Holmes again a top media topic ahead of Theranos trial
Elizabeth Holmes is about to go on trial for fraud related to her company Theranos
It wasn’t long ago that the world was captivated by the story of Elizabeth Holmes and her ill-fated Theranos company. Now, as a new drama series about her is poised to debut amid her ongoing court battle, many may be hoping to catch up on the embattled Silicon Valley personality’s story.
Hulu has been developing a series about Holmes since 2019, when "Saturday Night Live" actress Kate McKinnon was announced to play the Theranos founder in a series titled "The Dropout."
In keeping with the title, McKinnon has since dropped out and been replaced with Amanda Seyfried in the leading role. The show is expected to come out sometime in the fall of 2021. Meanwhile, the real-life Holmes is set to go on trial in August after she was indicted by a grand jury on hearty fraud charges to the tune of $700 million from investors.
Her story highlights the incredible distance one can go in Silicon Valley on sheer promises and even alleged lies without ever actually having a working product. At its height, the company was valued at more than $9 billion after raising nearly $900 million from investors, according to The Wall Street Journal. Before the SEC got involved, she herself had an estimated net worth of roughly $4.5 billion, making her one of the world’s youngest self-made female billionaires at the time.
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The story of Holmes’ rise to prominence and fortune, as well as her spectacular fall after it came to light that her blood-testing machines were not based in any real medical reality, were chronicled in a bevy of sources that people who are interested in her story can still find.
Ahead of her trial and the subsequent dramatization of Holmes’ life on Hulu, below is a rundown of everything you can consume in media about Elizabeth Holmes:
‘Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup,’ a book by John Carreyrou
Long before anyone else was getting wise to Elizabeth Holmes’ fraud, The Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou was reporting on her precipitous fall and was instrumental in letting the public know that her blood testing machines could not do anything close to what she hyped them to be able to do. The story was kicked into high stakes after Theranos started actually giving diagnosis to patients based on Holmes' faulty design and broken promises. Eventually, Carreyrou compiled his reporting into a New York Times best-selling book titled "‘Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup."
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According to GQ, Carreyrou’s extensive reporting includes interviews with more than 150 people, 60 of whom were key figures or ex-Theranos employees. All of those 60 had inside knowledge into what was going on and how such a major lie could proliferate into a multi-billion dollar company.
‘The Dropout' podcast from ABC News
Although Carreyrou’s reporting helped shine a light on what Holmes was doing with Theranos, perhaps nothing got it out to the public more than the ABC News-produced podcast "The Dropout."
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In fact, it was so prolific that it will act as the inspiration for the upcoming dramatization about Holmes starring Seyfried. Similar to The Wall Street Journal’s reporting, ABC’s Rebecca Jarvis, Taylor Dunn and Victoria Thompson take listeners on a journey through Holmes' life and her indictment that unveils the fruits of a multi-year investigation that includes interviews with several former Theranos employees, investors and patients. The reporting was also compiled into a special episode of the network’s "20/20" that aired in 2020.
The series isn’t finished, either. It will continue with new episodes that cover Holmes’ upcoming trial in a new batch of episodes appropriately titled "The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial."
‘The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley’ documentary from HBO
In perhaps the most accessible form the Elizabeth Holmes story takes, HBO released a documentary about the incident that leads right up to her 2018 indictment.
Directed by Alex Gibney, the compelling and artful look at Holmes as both a Silicon Valley figure and, ultimately, the big lie she created with her Theranos technology, initially debuted at Sundance in 2019 before HBO quickly scooped it up and premiered it the same year.
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While everything on this list has boasted interviews with former Theranos employees, the Oscar-winning director was allowed to stand on the shoulders of giants and pick out core figures from Carreyrou and ABC’s reporting, such as Carreyrou himself, Theranos whistleblower Tyler Shultz and former Chief Creative Officer Patrick O’Neill.
As The Vergenotes, the documentary goes deeper than just Holmes’ story, shining a light on Silicon Valley’s startup culture and the seemingly direct incentives that are created to lie to investors.