May 8, 2023 | 10:31 am
The New York Times was praised online over the weekend in response to its profile of convicted Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, who is about to begin serving an 11-year-plus prison sentence for orchestrating a scheme that defrauded investors of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Times journalist and great writer Amy Chozick wrote a 5,200-word feature on Holmeswho now reportedly prefers to be called “Liz,” enjoys antioxidant smoothies, is a doting mother to her two young children, likes to order Mexican food, avoids R-rated movies, and has volunteered at a rape crisis hotline for years past.
“I was admittedly swept up by Liz as an authentic and likable person,” Chozick wrote in the piece. “She’s gentle and charismatic, in a quiet way.”
Chozick added, “If you’re in her presence, it’s impossible not to believe her, not to be taken with her and be taken by her.”
The story also included choreographed shots of Holmes and her partner, Billy Evans, posing with their two infants against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.
The backlash online was fierce.
“Perhaps this article would have benefited more from a discussion about sociopaths,” tweeted political commentator Matthew Dowd.
“Nice to be a beautiful white lady working your charm on a nyt reporter,” tweeted former CNN host Soledad O’Brien, who lashed out at Chozick as “consistent shit.”
Scott Budman, a journalist who covered the Theranos trial, wrote on Twitter: “The last line of the New York Times story is wrong.”
“It is possible to be in her presence and not fully believe her. Questioning is what we do for a living,” he wrote.
Another Twitter user wrote: “For every glowing puff piece you see trying to rehabilitate Elizabeth Holmes’ image, I want you to remember something… she personally approved a 15 month clinical trial using a device she knew was useless , to measure cancer drug levels in the blood of terminal cancer patients.”
Twitter user Sean Tuffy tweeted: “Ladies, get yourself a man who loves you as much as the NYT loves rehabilitating public servants.”
The Post has sought comment from the Times.
Holmes, who has been free on bail since a jury convicted her of four counts of wire fraud and conspiracy in January 2022, was scheduled to begin her prison term on April 27.
She managed to avoid starting his sentence late last month when her lawyers appealed the federal judge’s decision ordering her to be taken into custody.
Lawyers for Holmes — who was convicted of fraud over her company’s blood-testing technology — argued that they were prevented from recording exculpatory statements from another convicted fraudster, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, her former boyfriend who was also the president of Theranos.
Balwani, who was convicted of several counts of management fraud as well as defrauding investors, was sentenced in December to 13 years in prison.
Theranos was the much-touted Silicon Valley tech startup that raised about $1.3 billion from several investors who were duped into believing its blood-testing technology that could diagnose disease with a finger prick was effective.
The publicity surrounding the claims of a breakthrough technology gave Holmes celebrity status that included favorable comparisons to technological trailblazers such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.
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