All The Things Hulu Series 'The Dropout' Gets Right About The Real Life Theranos Fraud Case

All The Things Hulu Series 'The Dropout' Gets Right About The Real Life Theranos Fraud Case

The show stars Amanda Seyfried as Holmes and Naveen Andrews as Sunny Balwani the two individuals who jointly ran the company since its inception.

The Dropout is the Hulu miniseries that follows the story of the rise and fall of biotechnology entrepreneur, Elizabeth Holmes. It is based on the ABC podcast of the same name hosted by Rebecca Jarvis. It follows the motivations behind Holmes' lies and deceit that finally exposed her company as a fraud in a linear story-telling style all the way from her pre-teens. 

Source: IMDb

The show stars Amanda Seyfried as Holmes and Naveen Andrews as Sunny Balwani the two individuals who jointly ran the company since its inception. The events that led Holmes going from being the world's youngest female self-made billionaire to a criminal is a roller coaster ride. The show has dramatized the events many of which may seem fake but are in fact very true. Here are some of the things that actually happened:

1. Holmes did drop out of Stanford

Holmes was only 19 when she decided to drop out of Stanford to found a biotechnology company. She used her tuition money to start the company. "I think a lot of young people have incredible ideas and incredible insights, but sometimes they wait before they go give their life to something," she had said at the time. "What I did was just to start a little earlier."


2. Holmes' deep voice

The deep voice was a part of the fake persona she presented. One former employee speculates that Holmes deepened her voice in a desperate attempt to fit in and be taken seriously as a young woman in the male-dominated Silicon Valley scene, reported Business Insider.

3. Holmes' obsession with Steve Jobs

Source: IMDb

Holmes was a big fan of the Apple founder, Steve Jobs. So much so that she tried to emulate him by always wearing black turtle necks, which was Jobs' signature look. Not only that, she even referred to the Theranos technology as the "iPod of healthcare." Holmes even went as far as to poach top designers from Apple, including product designer Ana Arriola to make her products more like that of the man she so admired and Jobs’ right-hand man Avie Tevanian.

4. Theranos and Walgreens deal

Before Holmes was exposed, Walgreens was one of her earliest fans. As shown on the show, Dr. Jay Rosen, the Walgreens executive believed in Holmes and her vision. This support from the pharmacy chain gave the blood test credibility to Theranos with investors and the public at large. In 2016, the deal was called off after investigations started about the company.

5. Holmes' sexual abuse in college


The same year Holmes founded Theranos, she was also sexually abused on the campus at Stanford. "I was raped when I was at Stanford," she testified from the stand and went on to explain that the incident drove her to dedicate her life to her new company as a way to deal with it. "I was questioning what — how I was going to be able to process that experience and what I wanted to do with my life. And I decided that I was going to build a life by building this company," Holmes said as per NPR.

6. Ian Gibbons' death

Gibbons was a British biochemist with 30 years of experience in the diagnostic and therapeutic industry before he became the chief scientist of Theranos. In the series, it is shown that Gibbons died by suicide fearing exposing the science behind Theranos, which never actually worked. This is a fact and Gibbons overdosed the night before he had to make the testimony against the company in 2013.  


7. How Holmes met Balwani

In the show, we see that Holmes met Balwani during a Chinese language exchange program. He was 37 years old at the time. He was already married at the time and he divorced his wife before becoming involved with Holmes. The two were in a clandestine romantic relationship during most of Theranos's history.

8. Holmes' obsession with green juices

Source: IMDb

The relationship she shared with Balwani was not a healthy one. While on trial, Holmes revealed that he was controlling and manipulative in the relationship including forcing her to stick to a strict diet that also involved consistently drinking green juices which he thought would keep her "pure" as reported by Marie Claire. Balwani has denied allegations of this abuse.

9.  The high profile people involved in the scam

Several high-profile names were involved in Theranos. From investors to others who believed in the success of the product. This includes one of the richest venture capitalists in the US, Don Lucas, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and even current President Joe Biden appear as characters and praised Holmes.


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