People are criticizing the New York Times after it published a glowing profile of Elizabeth Holmes, which painted the Theranos founder, who was found guilty of defrauding investors out of more than $100 million, as a “devoted mother” who volunteered for a rape crisis hotline.
The profile, written by former writer at large Amy Chozick, opens with a flowery description of Holmes as “blend[ing] in with the other moms” at the San Diego Zoo as she cares for a newborn strapped to her chest and “swathed in a Baby Yoda nursing blanket,” as Chozick noted that Holmes has ditched her black turtlenecks for a new maternal persona.
As people reacted to the profile, which documented several ocean-side meetings between Holmes and Chozick, many Twitter users were taken aback that the author was clearly charmed by Holmes, whose company’s historic downfall was portrayed in “The Dropout.”
Former CNN host Soledad O’Brien remarked, “nice to be a pretty white lady working your charm on a NYT reporter.”
“My Friend Bernie Madoff: Cold-Blooded Crook Who Defrauded 37,000 People or Affable Schnorrer Who Made Mistakes?” writer Joyce Carol Oates added while another user commented that Chozick “spent a lot of time with Elizabeth Holmes and got conned just like her board, her investors, her employees.”
“For every glowing puff piece you see trying to rehabilitate Elizabeth Holmes’s image, I want you to remember something,” another user wrote. “She personally approved a 15 month clinical trial using a device she knew to be useless, to measure cancer drug levels in the blood of terminal cancer patients.”
NBC Bay Area reporter Scott Budman, who covered both Theranos and Holmes’ trial, specifically took issue with the profile’s last line, which asserted that “if you are in her presence, it is impossible not to believe her, not to be taken with her and be taken in by her.”
“The last line of the New York Times story is wrong,” Budman wrote on Twitter. “It is possible to be in her presence and not completely believe her. Questioning is what we do for a living.”
A representative for the Times didn’t immediately respond to our request for comment.
Read more reactions to New York Times’ Holmes profile below: