Theranos shutting down — look back at revelations from ‘Bad Blood’ 

2. Theranos employees describe a paranoid atmosphere

Carreyrou reports that some Theranos employees suspected Theranos’ IT team of spying on them and reporting back to Holmes with their computer activity. Even worse, Carreyrou writes that Holmes’ “administrative assistants would friend employees on Facebook and tell her what they were posting there.”

3. Holmes described Theranos’ miniLab device as “the most important thing humanity has ever built”

That’s the show-stopping description Holmes assigned to the miniLab at her company’s 2011 Christmas party. The portable device, which she claimed could diagnose a wide range of diseases with just a few small drops of blood, was not introduced to the public until 2016, after the company had already been forced to void two years of results from its previous blood-testing device, the Edison, due to inaccuracy.

4. Holmes demanded loyalty and could turn on people “in a flash”

Carreyrou writes that Holmes “demanded absolute loyalty from her employees and if she sensed that she no longer had it from someone, she could turn on them in a flash.”

One former employee told Carreyrou that he assisted Holmes in some colleagues’ terminations, which would sometimes include putting together “a dossier on the person she could use for leverage.” In one instance, Holmes used the fact that “inappropriate sexual material” was found on a terminated employee’s work laptop as a public justification of his firing after the fact.

Sunny Balwani, Theranos’ former president and Holmes’ boyfriend, made similar demands for complete loyalty. Carreyrou reports that, following a rash of resignations at the company, Balwani gathered employees for an all-hands meeting at which he told them “anyone not prepared to show complete devotion and unmitigated loyalty to the company should ‘get the f— out’.”

5. The author alleges that Theranos had him followed

Carreyrou writes that he suspected Theranos of placing himself and Tyler Shultz, a former employee turned whistleblower, “under continuous surveillance for a year.”

Shultz — whose grandfather, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, served on Theranos’ board — was apparently unbothered, telling Carreyrou, “‘Next time maybe I’ll take a selfie with you and send it [to Holmes] to save her the trouble of hiring [private investigators].”

6. Holmes tried to get Rupert Murdoch to kill The Wall Street Journal story about Theranos

In 2015, Murdoch led an investment round by pumping $125 million into Theranos, making him the company’s biggest investor. (Other big-name Theranos investors who have now lost at least $600 million total include current U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and members of the Walton family of Walmart heirs.)

Eventually, when Holmes learned that Carreyrou was investigating Theranos, she turned to Murdoch, whose media empire includes the journalist’s employer, The Wall Street Journal. Carreyrou writes that Holmes tried to get Murdoch to kill the story, telling the billionaire “the information I had gathered was false and would do great damage to Theranos if it was published. Murdoch demurred, saying he trusted the paper’s editors to handle the matter fairly.”

In its review of “Bad Blood,” The New York Times called this “a good moment in American journalism.”

This is an updated version of a
previously published story

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