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Elizabeth Holmes’ Latest Sucker

Source: Wikipedia

Sometimes I think we live in a Golden Age of sociopaths. Or maybe, for those who haven’t been chumped (or murdered) by one, they make for entertaining copy. Just look through any streaming service — Tinder Swindler, Candy, Murdaugh Murders — they’re all there having a moment. Flipping through the charm, rage, and self-pity channels.

Once you’ve lived those channels, you get a kind of hard-won, manipulation decoding superpower. Oh, they just raged. I wonder what’s next on mindfuck TV? Probably self-pity.

You can just sit back with your Bingo card and check the crazy off. Blameshifting. Gaslighting. Impression management. Faux remorse.

Which brings me to Elizabeth Holmes — convicted Theranos fraudster awaiting jail — who got an extraordinarily sympathetic fluff piece from the New York Times this weekend, portraying Holmes as a misunderstood mother of two.

Holmes, if you’ll recall, is the turtle-necked weirdo with the fake contralto voice, who amassed a biotech fortune on a technology that didn’t actually exist. (If you want to catch up, there’s a bunch of documentaries now streaming.)

Holmes and her then-partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani pulled off the largest swindle in Silicon Valley history. (Balwani is already in jail.) So it was fascinating (and revolting) to read how the New York Times reporter Amy Chozick was completely hornswoggled by Holmes.

Let’s first point out the obvious: Any person of color or working class schmoe would not get this kind of poor sausage coverage — as a convicted criminal. But the pretty blonde lady there doesn’t fit central casting for duplicitous scumbag.

Liz Holmes Wants You to Forget About Elizabeth.”

Liz Holmes can want a cool drink of water in hell. I don’t really care what Liz Holmes wants. I’m sure her investors want their money back.

So, I’m just going to tick off the mindfucks — ploys we see every day on this blog — as a little field guide for Amy Chozick, so she’s not such a blithering chump for her next jailbird interview.

This Isn’t the Real Me.

That was Elizabeth. I’m Liz.

Faux Remorse Word Salad

“I made so many mistakes and there was so much I didn’t know and understand, and I feel like when you do it wrong, it’s like you really internalize it in a deep way,” Ms. Holmes said as we stopped to look at a hissing anaconda.

If you internalize it, perhaps you could be specific about it? Many mistakes! So confusing! She didn’t know or understand!

I feel like when you do it wrong, it’s like you internalize it in a deep way. Did a robot write this? Is she talking about failed cupcake recipes and toxic shame?

It can mean anything. And that’s the point. You can just read what you want into it. You want to see penance, she’ll gin some up. It’s phony, but she knows you won’t ask harder questions. Try the anaconda.

You’re a Very, Very Special Reporter

“How would you spend your time if you didn’t know how much time you had left?” Ms. Holmes said, her impending prison report date top of mind, perhaps even more so given that we were surrounded by animals behind bars. “It would be the kind of things we’re doing now because they’re perfect. Just being together.”

Isn’t it wonderful that Liz is spending a perfect day together with you? One of her last! Charm channel. How special you are. How chosen.

Day 42: the time we had croissants and berries and Mr. Evans made coffee and we walked the couple’s 150-pound Great Dane-mastiff mix, Teddy, on the beach.

On the second day we spent together, Mr. Evans asked me what the most surprising part of spending so much time with Ms. Holmes was. I told him it’s that I didn’t expect her to be so … normal?

Have you spent much time around sociopaths, Amy? Their heads don’t spin around channeling demons. They’re normal, until they aren’t. My god, she’s eating croissants and not harvested baby livers! Problem here is, you believe you’re special, that “bad people” fit some mold, and you could never be fooled. So, you just got played.

I was admittedly swept up in Liz as an authentic and sympathetic person. She’s gentle and charismatic, in a quiet way. My editor laughed at me when I shared these impressions, telling me (and I quote), “Amy Chozick, you got rolled!” I vigorously disagreed! You don’t know her like I do! But then, something very strange happened. I worked my way through a list of Ms. Holmes’s friends, family and longtime supporters, whom she and Mr. Evans suggested I speak to. One of these friends said Ms. Holmes had genuine intentions at Theranos and didn’t deserve a lengthy prison sentence. Then, this person requested anonymity to caution me not to believe everything Ms. Holmes says.

FWs never deserve the consequences and their flying monkeys agree. But also don’t really trust them. Because they never, ever will believe they could be wrong. That’s just for chumps.

They’re Not Cheaters, They’re Wayward

Ms. Holmes has not spoken to the media since 2016, when her legal team advised she go quiet. And, as the adage goes, if you don’t feed the press, we feed on you. In Elizabeth Holmes, we found an all-you-can-eat buffet. It had everything: The black turtlenecks, the Kabuki red lipstick, the green juices, the dancing to Lil Wayne. Somewhere along the way, Ms. Holmes says that the person (whoever that is) got lost. At one point, I tell her that I heard Jennifer Lawrence had pulled out of portraying her in a movie. She replied, almost reflectively, “They’re not playing me. They’re playing a character I created.”

She didn’t deceive you. She got lost. See also That’s Not The Real Her. She didn’t con people, she veered off course in a hot air balloon.

Five alarm sirens should be going off at “They’re playing a character I created.”

Yet you were quite happy to cash those checks ‘in character’, weren’t you, Liz? What character are you now?

Appropriates Actual Victim Narratives

So, why did she create that public persona? “I believed it would be how I would be good at business and taken seriously and not taken as a little girl or a girl who didn’t have good technical ideas,” said Ms. Holmes, who founded Theranos at 19.

Sexism is a real thing. I and half the planet have experienced it. Funny how we didn’t commit white collar crimes.

If you hate Elizabeth Holmes, you probably think her feigned perma-hoarseness was part of an elaborate scheme to defraud investors. If you are a person who is sympathetic to Ms. Holmes, then the James Earl Jones inflection was a sign of the impossible gymnastics that female founders must perform to be taken seriously. If you spend time with Ms. Holmes, as I did, then you might come away like me, and think that, as with many things about Elizabeth Holmes, it was both. Either way, even Mr. Evans agrees, the voice was real weird.

Yes, women fight to be taken seriously in the workplace. And the vast majority of female founders don’t bilk their investors of $100 million or talk like Darth Vader. #soweird

I realized that I was essentially writing a story about two different people. There was Elizabeth, celebrated in the media as a rock-star inventor whose brilliance dazzled illustrious rich men, and whose criminal trial captivated the world. Then there is “Liz,” (as Mr. Evans and her friends call her), the mom of two who, for the past year, has been volunteering for a rape crisis hotline. Who can’t stomach R-rated movies and who rushed after me one afternoon with a paper towel to wipe a mix of sand and her dog’s slobber off my shoe.

A rape crisis center? I can’t even. Impression management much? Should Elizabeth Holmes be around vulnerable people? Who does this volunteer screening? Christ on a cracker.

She then put this work into context, telling me how surviving a rape at a fraternity party her sophomore year at Stanford had, in retrospect, colored so many of her life choices. It’s the part of her story that she keeps getting back to. The one she told a sympathetic, but ultimately undeterred jury, according to news reports. The one she wants people to (finally) listen to. (I later reviewed a 52-page Santa Clara police report that documented the details of the alleged sexual assault and Ms. Holmes’s injuries. Ms. Holmes did not press charges.)

I’m sorry Holmes is a rape victim. I’m also sorry for doubting if Holmes was in fact a rape victim because she lies quite fluently about many things. But if she is or is not, the vast majority of rape victims don’t go on to victimize others as criminals. And it’s rather ghoulish and cynical to explain your crimes (excuse me, “life choices”) as a result of a sexual assault. You’ve just made it harder for the next victim to be believed. As “convicted con artist” is not the brand ambassador victims want.


I’m sorry, Elizabeth Holmes can’t go to jail now, she’s very busy being a mother.

At her sentencing hearing in November 2022, she was visibly pregnant with her second child. That baby was born in February. In March, Ms. Holmes’s defense team partly cited her “two very young children” in arguing that she should remain free while appealing her fraud conviction. A Daily Mail headline referred to the baby as a “Last-Ditch Bid for New Trial.”

That Bad, Bad Man Made Me Do It.

In March 2004, her sophomore year, Ms. Holmes left Stanford and moved in with Mr. Balwani to get Theranos off the ground. (Mr. Balwani guaranteed a loan to Theranos and joined the company in 2009.) “I really thought I’d be safe,” Ms. Holmes said. “My friends at school and that whole universe, it didn’t exist anymore when I was with him. It was all gone.”

As Ms. Holmes explained it, echoing a key part of her defense strategy, Mr. Balwani kept close control over her every action. She detailed extensive domestic abuse and sexual assault. She said that Mr. Balwani forced her to stop speaking to her family and Stanford friends and pressured her to adopt the black-turtleneck, red-lipstick persona.

“He always told me I needed to ‘kill Elizabeth,’ so I could become a good entrepreneur,” she said.

I’m confused. I thought Elizabeth “got lost.” But Balwani killed her? Anyway, point is, the Bad, Bad Boyfriend made her steal the money. Liz would never do such a thing.

She lived by entrepreneurial tenets that she said Mr. Balwani told her she needed to follow in order to succeed. These included not sleeping for more than five hours, going vegan, getting to the office daily by 5 a.m., no alcohol.

“It was only when people started to raise questions about the company that I started to see that he was not who I thought he was in business,” Ms. Holmes said of Mr. Balwani. “And then that made me start to question everything else.”

Not who you thought he was, huh? I’m sure you’ve heard that a few times. DARVO much?

What does she think would have happened if she hadn’t garnered so much early attention as the second coming of Silicon Valley? Ms. Holmes does not blink: “We would’ve seen through our vision.” In other words, she thinks if she’d spent more time quietly working on her inventions and less time on a stage promoting the company, she would have revolutionized health care by now.

Why isn’t reporter Amy Chozick skeptical here? The scales have fallen from Liz Holmes’s eyes! Yet, she’s also going down with the ship! She’s not guilty, she’s a true believer and a zealot!

People who “question everything” do not stick out the vision. Or say “our.”

The relentlessness. The certainty. The fanaticism. It’s the same way Ms. Holmes kept hanging on at Theranos.

Yes, and as of this reporting she’s still hanging on, which doesn’t square with the sad sausage tale of the Bad, Bad Man who duped her.

Need a New Chump, STAT.

So, CN, what do FWs do when the consequences come? That’s right, they line up a new sucker. Play the Very, Very Special game with them. Reel ’em in with sunk costs. And let the new chump clean up the mess.

Tag Billy Evans, you’re it. Hope you enjoy single parenting.

But, as Ms. Holmes explains it, it’s just bad timing (to put it mildly). She is 39. She fell in love with Mr. Evans in 2017. They did not anticipate that she would be indicted. They did not anticipate that she would be sentenced to 11 years. They always wanted a big family.

“If we let how other people might view that, or what impression someone might make of it dictate how we live our lives, then we’ve lost,” Ms. Holmes said. “Finding your person in the middle of all of this and experiencing that love when you’re going through hell is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced.”

She’s not a criminal going to jail, she’s a special star-crossed lady who found her Boo.

But how did the Bad, Bad Man let you have a boyfriend? Heck, he wouldn’t even let you have a donut. Was that a rude question? I wouldn’t want my impressions to dictate how you live your life. Especially when you make so very many impressions.

Need a New Chump, STAT Redux

That Friday, the couple were getting ready to host a group of friends from the Bay Area. They invited me to stay. They repeatedly invited me to come back, to bring my family. We could all go to the zoo together.

I appreciated their hospitality, but I didn’t fully understand it. Usually interview subjects can’t wait to get rid of me.

Then I realized why they kept opening the door wider. Ms. Holmes is unlike anyone I’ve ever met — modest but mesmerizing. 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. Liz Holmes and Billy Evans know that. I politely declined their invitation.

Holmes didn’t want to hang out for the weekend. She wanted: “It’s impossible not to believe her.” You delivered, Amy. Your services are no longer needed. Enjoy the blot on your journalism career in service to a sociopath.



Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • It just doesn’t matter what the crime is if one goes down the list of ten commandments, there is always someone blaming someone else for them committing those crimes.

    Whether one takes the ten commandments as literal or as just a list that covers all crimes this is true. Someone or something else is to blame, certainly not me.

    Of course many of us own our own faults and sins which is likely what keeps us from going on to worse and worse, and we keep working on ourselves. But, so many don’t.

    • Yep, people have been blaming someone else since the Garden of Eden. I love how Adam had the audacity to blame God to try to get himself out of trouble with God “This woman that YOU gave me…”

      • Yep! Ever since the Paleolithic! Together with flint arrows, blameshifting and image management.

    • I saw a quote from Christian philosopher and humorist (who knew someone could be both?) GK Chesterton yesterday about the Ten Commandments that made me think and made me laugh because it’s true:
      “The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted; precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden.”

      I wasn’t raised religious and agree with those who criticize some of the weirder or bigoted prohibitions in Leviticus,, etc. But serious theologians don’t take the weird and bigoted stuff literally and I appreciate a lot of the moral tenets in scripture. It’s basic stuff which matches my gut feelings about ethics. It suggests that, somewhere in our evolution, we developed an instinctive knowledge of right and wrong. Cruel and selfish and causes suffering– bad. Why is that so difficult for some people to understand? I don’t think it’s bad genes.

  • The thing that makes me the most angry is her decision to get pregnant twice in the middle of this. Someday those babies will realize that their entire existence was a ploy to keep their mother out of prison. They were born to be of use. Because Elizabeth Holmes is a user.

    And, yes, that reporter got played. Big time. That’s the thing about these monsters. They seem so terribly normal. Many of us here were taken in by a partner who seemed normal. And then we realized that they were users. Just like convicted fraudster Elizabeth Holmes. Sometimes people like that become serial killers. Sometimes they commit massive fraud. And sometimes they “merely” cheat on their partner. They do what they want because they think can get away with it.

    • “They do what they want because they think can get away with it.”

      And sadly so many get away with it for too long.

    • Chozik didn’t speak with anyone she swindled, and didn’t once talk about how she bullied her employees, leading one to commit suicide. Or how employee/whistleblower Tyler Schultz slept with a knife under his pillow as he believed Holmes was going to send someone to murder him.

      • Hey, they don’t know Liz like Amy knows Liz. They shared berries.

        • Chump Lady, wow, the sarcasm you expressed in just 3 words: “They shared berries.”

      • Plus Holmes was obviously a practiced FW-fluffer.

        “‘[Former Secretary of State George P.] Shultz repeatedly told friends that Holmes was brilliant,’ Taubman writes. ‘Over time, his associates grew alarmed, fearing that his enthusiasm was colored by personal affection for Holmes. He talked by phone with her almost every day and invited her to join Shultz family Christmas dinners. She encouraged his attention by leaning in close to him when they were seated together on sofas.'”

        The story also shows a bit of the dilemma and trauma of kids and grandkids of cheaters since whistleblower Tyler’s grandfather, George Shultz, was married the entire time: “Tyler felt betrayed. In a 2020 podcast, Thicker Than Water, he imagined three reasons why his grandfather sided with Holmes.

        ‘One is that you were corrupt and have invested so much money in Theranos that you were willing to make ethical compromises in order to see return on your investment. The second is that you are in love with Elizabeth.

        ‘So no matter how many times she lies to you, no matter how many patients she injures and no matter how badly she harms your family, you will put her above everything else. The last possibility is that you have completely lost your mental edge and despite an abundance of data showing that she was a criminal, you somehow are incapable of connecting these very, very big dots.'”

      • Let’s not forget the cancer patients who were given the wrong information during clinical trials because she lobbied to get her machines used knowing they were garbage. She should’ve been convicted of attempted murder.

    • “Sometimes people like that become serial killers.” After everything that has come to light regarding what all FW was doing the 20 years we were together, if someone told me 10 years from now that he killed somebody, I would not be surprised.

    • I’m grateful for the wisdom now. That’s exactly what blew my mind.
      I guess I thought that I knew what an asshole looked like. I didn’t realize that someone could sleep next to you for 12 years, have a kid with you, buy poetry books for your mother…
      Meanwhile, he was angling around for strange the entire time, seeking as many people as possible to feed kibbles to his incredible intellectualism.

  • Saw that article in the NYT, rather saw the headline & her photo & said to myself I’m not going to waste one precious second reading what a convicted duper has to say. Thanks CL for helping me reinforce my boundaries no matter how small.

    • I thought exactly the same thing! Why waste time when I know everything I need to know about this vain swindler. Although I did miss the hissing anaconda part…

    • Hurt1, I read a few paragraphs of the story, and I was like “Oh, please, b—-.”

  • in a right-sized world, amy chozick would interview an average person who was completely chumped by their reptilian partner, outlining the entire process and the aftermath. there would not be a trip to the zoo. no, there would be a trip to the divorce lawyer to discuss how best to manage a malignant narcissist who is withholding monies required to pay the rent/mortgage/groceries then a trip to the family therapist with the kids, to discuss how best to manage the malignant narcissist who is incapable of love and does a LOT of harm. etc. etc.

    but that’s not selling copies.

    • damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster, now, let’s not dis reptiles. They’re not my favorite animals, but they serve an important purpose in the ecosystem. They’re certainly better and more useful than narc cheaters.

  • The interviewer doesn’t have any experience with pathological liars

      • Loved A Jackass — that’s what bothered me most too. NY Times published this? Unreal

        • I’m not surprised, I canceled my subscription awhile back because they were becoming such a joke.

        • I’m not surprised the Times publishes crap as long as that crap serves some financial, strategic or ideological agenda of publishers or sponsors. As a lefty, I particularly resent news publications that cash in progressive creds to peddle repressive or toxic policies. It’s a typical game of a lot of media– publish a bunch of “brave” humanist reports by idealistic young reporters and then cash in the credence this buys among readers by, say, promoting toxic industrial marauders or wars for oil and, what’s worse, viciously discrediting and negating the victims of those ventures. In that regard, the NY Times is the worst for being the best at it. Remember when the Times fired editors and journalists who questioned the fake yellow cake grounds for invading Iraq which the Times published despite knowing they were simply parroting State Dept. propaganda? That’s just one of countless other wag-the-dog agendas the Times has faithfully served from inception.

          In this case, I’m not sure what agenda is being served by whitewashing Holmes because not all of publishers’ cross investments and ties are out in the open. But the column is so gynastically trashy that you can bet it serves something even if it’s just, say, that someone in the Sulzberger clan is engaged in fraudulent enterprises. The NY Times has even periodically whitewashed child sexual abuse (authored by Susan Dominus– not kidding) so, you never know, some of this stuff could be subjective confessions that someone involved with or close to publishers is guilty and the platform is used for personal purposes to soften public prohibitions those crimes. I don’t know whether the cheater apologism frequently published by the Times is a reflection of cross investment in cheating-dependent industries like porn and dating sites (virtually all major media, including Google and ABC, are cross invested to the tune of billions) or just the fact that a lot of editors are cheating FWs or a bit of both.

          • Meant to write “soften public prohibitions against those crimes.”

    • Reminds me of my marriage therapist
      Apparently she had lots of experience dealing with narcs, sec addicts, sex offenders etc.
      Laughable… my h was lying and putting on a great show and she had no idea. One 🎬: I’m falling apart on the sofa recalling horrible stuff my h was doing… he went into his “ coma” state ( blank stare, white face, shaking / the whole performance)
      I ended up giving him a ride home, letting him sleep all afternoon
      In order to “ recover “ ( still wondering from what?!?) while I had to pick up myself from the floor, take care of everything & our kids for the rest of the day, while h was recovering in bed.
      I’m laughing now, but at the moment I couldn’t even see what damage my therapist was causing. I just knew that something was not adding up ( in my PTSD depressed mind)

      • I am sorry that you had to go through this kind of $h!t. Having a jerk-baby as a spouse is bad enough. Having an incompetent fool for a therapist makes my jaw bones ache.

  • Oh, the cringe. It stings. I’m a former journalist, and I’m embarrassed for this reporter. Could also absolutely see this happening to younger me, before the two-by-four smack of chumpdom.

    CL is spot on about our hard-won superpower. Was is worth what I went through to get it? Hell, no. But hey, free superpower.

  • What a charmer! (gag)

    Whenever someone looks really good on the surface and is seeking to be an “influencer,” I trust my gut. I remember reading some of the early press on Ms. Holmes, and the former research scientist in me wondered. How could she achieve something that no one else could? Usually, scientific breakthroughs don’t happen this way. It didn’t smell right to me. So no surprise when it all went down.

    Then I recently let go of someone who was also seeking to be an “influencer.” I went through that with my ex, and my radar was pinging. So I did some digging, watching, and thinking. I decided that what I found damaged their credibility significantly. I moved on.

    People that I chose to be close to me are raw and real. They don’t hide significant secrets. Their public persona matches who they are in life.

    As George Simon says so eloquently, character matters. A lot.

  • It read to me (from those parts I saw here – I have not read the article) as if the journalist was reporting what it is to be taken in by a charismatic, plausible (yes, I know), attractive liar. Perhaps I have this wrong, but rather than painting Holmes as a monster (and therefore easy to spot), she described herself being drawn in by someone who, even with a knowledge of her criminal conviction, was still able to work her thing. That seems to be a worthwhile thing to try and describe, even if the execution was perhaps off or incomplete. But again, I may be wrong.

    • Yes, I read it that way too, Marcus.
      At the end of the article she declines their invitation for Christmas! Dinner.
      I think the reporter might actually have been quite “clever”
      in making the reader feel as though she was charmed by Holmes, but in reality, she was frightened (if that’s the right word,) of seeing she too, could be charmed to the point of being duped. She’s basically admitting: wow! Holmes is an effective snake oil saleswoman, liar, manipulator, and I started to feel like I was ready to have a drink of the kool – aid myself!

  • “I was admittedly swept up in Liz as an authentic and sympathetic person. She’s gentle and charismatic, in a quiet way. My editor laughed at me when I shared these impressions, telling me (and I quote), “Amy Chozick, you got rolled!” I vigorously disagreed! You don’t know her like I do!”

    I mean seriously? It’s one thing to get played by a sociopath before they are revealed… it’s quite another to KNOW they did all kinds of crazy and evil and lying… and ignore that and fall victim to it — ESPECIALLY as a reporter or journalist.

    Amy strikes me as the kind of person who still wants to befriend Anna Delvey. Or would have written to Charles Manson in prison and tried to marry him. Maybe she’ll get together with Murdaugh.

    I just have to question why this piece was published. It’s only making the reporter look incompetent. The editor even laughed that she got played. Why publish it? Amy needs help if she is siding with Elizabeth Holmes. I worry about her other relationships… she is very likely a Chump in other ways who just chooses to smoke hopium no matter that the mask has fallen off and there’s all the proof in the world. I don’t think even Chump Lady could wake her up from her delusional state.

    • Right? I think it’s part of the Special, Special Reporter schtick. Everyone else thinks I’m a criminal, but only YOU really get me.

      • I bet she’s part of the crowd that thinks too many criminals are put in jail.

    • NYT says it’s a 17 min read. That’s a whole lotta bullshit in print space.

    • Yep, people like that deserve to get fucked over.

      One of my ex friends actually said to me when I revealed to her my ex husbands secret life “ well, he lied to you but that doesn’t mean he would like to ME!” and the bitch was all indignant about it.

      Now I’m hearing she’s all shocked and angry because he’s been arrested for being a pedophile so he was indeed lying to super special her. I’m like, fuck her. She was fine with him harming other people because it made her feel special and important. She’s a shitty person. Just like this reporter. Shitty people.

      • I’m glad this woman is no longer in your life. What an asshole.

        She’s “shocked and angry” the pedophile you warned her about… turned out to be a pedophile? Lied to her like he lied to you? It’s a wonder she can breathe with her head so far up her own ass.

    • And this reporter KNOWS what Holmes did! So does her husband who just had 2 kids with her.

      I was already baffled that heads of state got suckered by a teenage con artist with no credentials, and that was bad enough 15 years ago when Holmes was a nobody. How on earth do NEW people choose to get fooled now that she’s a famous convicted felon?? I don’t get it.

      • I think they really think they’re special. They’re assholes who think they’re so much better than those “suckers” she destroyed. Her husband deserves whatever she does to him. He’s a piece of shit. I don’t see him as a victim or even as naive. He’s an asshole who smugly thinks he’s so much better than all the people she conned, and used, and gave false healthcare results to, and drove to suicide. He deserves whatever he gets when she’s done with him. I just feel sorry for the kids.

        • I feel sorry for the kids too, and no sympathy for the husband. What an idiot this guy is.

      • The nauseating love letter written by this journalist about the convicted fraudster and con-woman Holmes more than likely has another purpose altogether than one article. Truman Capote did this. As did the journalist Michael Finkel. So too, Gay Talese who actually participated in a crime when writing about his subject, a disgusting psychopathic voyeur.

        There is a long tradition of journalists pursuing, peddling and publicizing a false narrative for personal gain by befriending criminals by so-called presenting a more sympathetic portrait of the subject.
        My bet is the writer Ms Chozick is being utterly disingenuous rather than merely naive. She was no doubt specifically tapped / selected for her apparent willingness to be naive and to write the piece a certain way – who knows how many other journalists Holmes turned down for access because they clearly would not do this?

        The NYT journo is probably hoping to get the rights to do the ultimate book on Holmes. So — now they’re friendly because Chozick KNOWS her better than anyone suddenly — so to secure her future she writes against the accepted view of Holmes. That is a bold and utterly cynical move as the real story is a factual, evidence-based narrative that is now beyond any sort of dispute. The smart money is on Chozick being a sociopath as well. That view is not naive in the least: rather, it can only be that Ms Chozick is clearheadedly and self-servingly leaning in to what she must know is the equivalent of being a fraud herself (against all the journalism ethics laws too!) and is most likely using the situation for her own obvious gain. To wit: the actual definition of the word naive, from the Cambridge dictionary:

        “too willing to believe that someone is telling the truth, that people’s intentions in general are good, or that life is simple and fair.”

        Chozick is a journalist – it goes with the territory that you question everything. You are no naive ingenue if you work for NYT. She cannot claim to be naive so there’s the rub. These two will now bond together to use each other so that will work well for both.

        Soon it will be two anacondas bonding together both for survival and relevance.
        Hissing will be the least of it 🐍☠️

  • Real human beings made real clinical decisions based on the shitty and incorrect “results” provided by Theranos. Fuck her.

  • I wonder if poor Amy is the type of woman who wrote love letters to Ted Bundy while he was awaiting execution?

  • “Five alarm sirens should be going off at ‘They’re playing a character I created.'”

    This is for all the Chumps who wonder how their “wonderful, loving” partner turned into an indifferent monster. They were “playing a character [they] created.” Until they weren’t and the character mask dropped.

    • Loved,
      Here is a dialogue with an expert in character playing, sparkledick in court with me trying to reach an agreement about dividing assests:

      Sparkledick, in full Master-of-the-Universe posture: “ClearWaters, you can trust me!”.
      ClearWaters: “How does one trust a cheater?”
      Sparkledick, now pouting: “But I’m NOT a cheater!”
      ClearWaters: “So is Schmoopie von Flatterfuck a mirage?”

      Snickers all over the room, my lawyer guffawed.

  • Ah yes! “It wasn’t me, it was my alter ego, Countess Boochie Flagrante!”. And yeah, her BF was a scam artist… but so was she. It’s why they got together.

  • The rape incident – Hitchcock’s Marnie was a character who was a victim of sexual assault who becomes a thief who then has to get raped by new guy to snap out of it. Oh mr H!! Maybe the GOT Queen Theranos studied up on her Hitchcock blonde role models. Shouldn’t all reporters approach the story like they expect to be taken in for suckers? Also, she lives on the beach. In a beach house. With new guy and babies. And honest folk, if they’re lucky enough, live in faux colonial town condos in ungentrified parts of town hoping for a 4% cola raise. Some people just suck.

    • True that. It seems the richer you are (or seem to be) the more you are allowed to get away with. Poor kids get arrested for hopping a subway turn style and rich blond ladies defraud people out of millions and argue that prison is inconvenient. We need real Justice, not fakery and further victimization of the poor

  • Elizabeth’s dad was once a senior VP at Enron. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Apparently he works at Boston Consulting Group now, but leaves his time at Enron off his profile.

    • I agree and I just posted the same exact quote. Is there a valid study about sociopaths and how often the trait occurs within families?

    • From everything I’ve read and seen her dad and family were harmed by the Enron scandal. In the show the family lost their home and accepted the charity of a rich family friend.

      That always made me think she was even more of a monster for doing the same thing to other people.

      • They were harmed by the FALL of the Enron scandal. Doesn’t mean they didn’t benefit while the con was on. You could even say Elizabeth was harmed by the Theranos scandle.

  • I’m not that person anymore.” was the version of the script I got from the FW. Like Liz, she expects everyone to cooperate with her cover story. So it is actually a Hallmark movie where the misunderstood protagonist starts a puppie rescue and meets the hunky love of her life. All the damage she cause is left on the cutting room floor.

    • “I’m not that person anymore” was what my now-ex told the woman he’s now with (not the Schmoopie). And she believes him…

    • “I’m not that person anymore.”

      The version I heard was: “I don’t know why I acted like such a dirt bag” This was the first line of his “apology” letter. He treated me like crap under his feet for the last year of our marriage, not to mention the years of lying and cheating and financial abuse, and he couldn’t even muster an apology to my face.

      I never responded to the letter.

  • Remember that journalist that interviewed pharma-psycho Martin Shkreli, believed him, and then had to watch her whole life go up in flames? Marriage, career, everything.

    Careful, Amy Chozik. It truly is a spider’s web. Anyway, at this point, you’re the only person alive (besides her immediate family) who is still listening to these lies.

    • YES. That was batshit level. He wasn’t even charming. And I remember one of the fashion mags doing a profile about her, photos in designer duds and all.

      Irresponsible and frankly, dangerous. Just looked at the NYT piece: “17 min read.” I can’t even.

    • Yes! I was going to mention that but I’d forgotten his name (was just about to Google “pharma bro”). He ditched her by making a statement to the press (without notifying her), but the last time I looked she still thinks he’s her soulmate and is waiting for him to come back to her.

  • Interviewed with Holmes and she set off EVERY alarm I have.
    Turned down job offer and was stalked by them.
    Had to change email/phone.
    Got an attorney who sent cease and desist letter
    The whole thing was scary.

  • Just reading her bio. Her father was a vice-president for Enron, talk about fruit not falling far from the tree…..

    • Did you note the Board of Directors for Theranos? More than one psychopath.

  • Elizabeth Holmes needs to go away for a very long time. It will be for God to judge her, but as a physician I am appalled at her actions. She only cared about herself and getting ahead at the expense of the health of innocent people. Fake lab results have real implications. One can only hope that a scam like this doesn’t happen again. I followed her closely from the beginning because it just didn’t seem plausible that a 19 year-old dropout could come up with such complicated device. As is often the case if it sounds too good to be true it usually is.
    As for the NY Times, and really all media, the pandemic taught me that there is always some underlying agenda being pushed. Follow the money rule usually reveals what is driving most stories

    • Agree, why aren’t more people angry and outraged ? That is what I can’t understand

      • Maisie, I for one am tired of constantly being angry and outraged.

        My thoughtfully-written comment just disappeared when I tried to post it, so here’s the short version:

        My lifetime of railing against corruption and injustice has worn me down, and given the unlikelihood that I can effect any change on the current decline of humanity, I prefer to cultivate my own garden. O tempores, o mores.

        • Oh, geez. In my zeal to post quickly, I made a mistake. O tempora, o mores.

    • I followed her closely from the beginning because it just didn’t seem plausible that a 19 year-old dropout could come up with such complicated device.

      I have no medical background whatsoever but I clearly remember when Holmes first hit the magazine covers, my immediate feeling was suspicion, because how does a teenage dropout invent groundbreaking new medical technology when she doesn’t even have basic knowledge of science?

      I remember it was a very “uncanny valley” feeling.

  • To be fair to the author, it is really hard to see and not be taken in by manipulation. I KNOW that my ex is a toxic liar, and I STILL have trouble filtering things he says and not letting it affect me. Just yesterday I felt bad all day about an email and couldn’t put my finger on why I felt bad. Until my sister pointed out the subtle blaming going on in the email. It’s hard work to spot that shit. It’s why we all talk about NC. It’s the only way. I dream of the day my kiddos are out of the house, and there are no more communications of any kind.

    • “I felt bad all day about an email and couldn’t put my finger on why I felt bad. Until my sister pointed out the subtle blaming going on in the email.”

      Isn’t it crazy how we sometimes need independent observers to point out the manipulative BS?

      In a recent tax-info exchange with FW, he noted the name of the accountant on my 1040 (the same accountant FW used to have until this year) and wrote: “Oh, by the way, my new accountant is 10x less expensive than [insert my accountant’s name].”

      My knee-jerk reaction: “FW is being helpful, offering a suggestion that there are cheaper accountants out there that I might try.”

      A friend’s reaction: “He’s just bragging.”

      Three years out, and I catch myself giving that cheating, lying man the benefit of the doubt. Old habits die hard.

      • A gem I’ve learned post-divorce…”Don’t give the benefit of the doubt to the person who caused your doubts.”

  • The NYT employs David Brooks, a cheater who used its platform to humiliate his chumped wife, so it’s easy to understand their lax values around other liars and con artists.

    In this litigious era, I wish other convicted criminals would demand the same treatment that Holmes is getting – all of it: the extended free time before incarceration; puff pieces portraying them as misunderstood…

  • Remember when Mike Wallace would catch the bad guys on 60 minutes and they’d actually go to jail? Entitled billionaires will just keep appealing their cases.

  • The entire reason she had children was to use them for this purpose. She’s a stone cold psychopath but she’s also very intelligent. She watched her family get decimated by the whole Enron scandal and her lizard brain thought “what a good idea!” She isn’t capable of feeling love for anybody.

    I was in the military with a stone cold psychopath. When she was finally facing consequences for her many financial crimes she started fucking everything that would have her to get pregnant to be more sympathetic at her trial. She got confinement rather than hard labor at Leavenworth for it.

    That’s all Elizabeth Holmes did too. Cranked out some kids so people would feel sorry for her. She doesn’t give a damn about them or anybody else.

  • Trying to make out that she was a nerd-girl inventor who the world just wouldn’t let be great by making her produce, oh I don’t know, workable results and robust data without faking it, who’s playing the victim of toxic masculinity card in one breath (and that’s a whole other conversation in itself), but then purposefully uses her femininity to lure lots of old rich guys to her cause is high-key disingenuous on it’s own, but yeah, she roils through the pity, rage, vulnerable charm channel like a hagfish. If she’d let her idea stand on it’s potential merits and been as homely as hell without adopting the Steve Jobs persona, she’d still be toiling away someone in anonymity today. Having the children was a stategic move to keep her out of jail, predicted by the majority of punters for jury appeal, and I’m sorry for them but glad she got her comeuppance. People died because they believed her products diagnostic capabilities. She’s a sociopath and worked the system like a trooper, but just like the rest of them, it’s always someone else’s fault when it falls in a heap.

    • They’re the same kind of person. Holmes is just the intelligent version and Heard is the stupid version.

    • My own armchair diagnosis is that A Heard has Borderline Personality Disorder, whereas Holmes suffers from a lack of empathy/emotions rather than unstable mood and self-image, but that’s just my hot take.

  • ‘ Blameshifting. Gaslighting. Impression management. Faux remorse’
    Check x5. FW in my case seemed very different from the rest, but the above was all there.
    Tracy is truly above and beyond in intellect. I’m constantly blown away by her unique voice and intelligent a point of view. Thank you Tracy for your voice of reason and for continuing to try to educate the masses.

  • I guess it’s just a sign of the “cheating apologia” times that few major media reports focus on the hints that Holmes began her relationship with Sunny Balwani as a side piece when he was still married to Keiko Fujimoto. Even the Vanity Fair report on the Holmes/Balwani relationship– which is relevant to the criminal case since hiding a conflict of interest like this from investors isn’t exactly an ethical business practice– doesn’t focus too much on the fact that Balwani’s divorce went through only months after he met Holmes at a language lab in China. Despite the fact the two hid their relationship from investors and colleagues for ages, no one seems to question their claims that, in 2002, they only “kept in touch” before the ink on the divorce papers was dry.

    Aside from the massive age gap between Balwani and Holmes, the reason I even checked Balwani’s former marital status was because the whole Theranos saga reminded me of the classic delusional “affair bubble.” It seems like a perfect example of what happens when psychopathic cheater meets psychopathic (according to many studies) mate poacher and they go on a typical crime spree of duper’s delight-boosted orgasms, deception, gaslighting and spending other people’s money. Some FW pairs keep it local, only victimizing individual spouses and children while pillaging marital assets and kids’ college funds. Some do it on a global scale but, either way, it all seems like the same “Cluster B squared” arrangement of two malignant narcissists mirroring each other and flagging on the other’s grandiose fantasies. Those kinds of arrangements don’t necessarily need to start as cheating but it makes perfect sense if they do.

    Just to be clear, I don’t think the delusion that Balwani and Holmes “suffered” under was “crazy” in the sense that they didn’t know what they were doing was illegal and wrong. If they were, in fact, cheating FWs, it’s just more evidence the “wrong” bit was likely part of the thrill. I think they were delusional in the criminal sense that they deludedly thought they’d get away with it. Since they had no end game plan in case of being caught, it’s likely they believed it would somehow work out and they’d eventually be able to plagiarize, hijack or secretly buy some promising tech which filled the bill. Plagiarists have great and abiding faith in other people’s creativity (ask Bill Gates) and narcissists have great faith in their own ability to make a wild fabrication come true if it doesn’t do so on its own. Madoff also had no real end game for being caught and seemed to engage in a gambling addict’s magical thinking as he got trapped in his own bs claims and kept trying to shift money around to conceal losses in the hopes something magical would happen to make things break even.

    In regard to Holmes’ claim she was a “forced accomplice” to Balwani, here’s an interesting article from Psychology Today profiling different types of ‘murderers’ accomplices”: From the leaked text exchanges between Balwani and Holmes, Holmes seems to fall under the category of “faux accomplice.” Another hint might be that, while “compliant accomplices” and “submissive accomplices” will hesitate to throw the dominant criminal under the bus which suggests an “incomplete psychological engagement with the crime,” faux accomplices don’t hesitate. When cornered, did Holmes hesitate to accuse Balwani of domestic abuse and coercive control?

    Beyond being of interest to criminal psychologists studying fraudster profiles, I’m not sure it says anything about Holmes’ culpability whether Balwani abused her since Holmes remains a flaming psycho in her own right. The interviewer could have done a 15 second Google search to identify Holmes’ almost cellular level “goody two shoes” act as pathological compartmentalization, down to calling herself by separate names, which is something serial killer Denis Rader dubbed “cubing” (

    That doesn’t mean Holmes wasn’t actually abused by Balwani. The thing about rape and domestic abuse is that these crimes say literally nothing– good, bad or indifferent– about the victims of them. Just like it’s statistical bunk that “most victims” suffered from preexisting low self esteem, it’s also a mistake to automatically assume that all victims had always been good people in every way. That doesn’t mean perpetrators should be exonerated for victimizing not-so-great targets either since many rapists and domestic abusers, like the plague or tornadoes, aren’t selective in terms of victims. Even rapists can get raped and domestic abusers can be abused by bigger abusers.

    As far as Holmes volunteering as an advocate for rape victims, I’m not surprised even if certain settings like victim advocacy groups tend to filter out fake victims or even abuser-cum-victims. I’ve met totally fake victims outside of advocacy but never in it, though we did see a few abusers-cum-victims trying to nestle in with genuinely innocent victims. I think this was a rare occurrence because even serial killers will melt down and freak out if forced to listen to the perspectives of genuinely innocent victims of their own crimes. Those types always preferred the “takes two to tango” models of domestic violence and would quickly get angry and Rambo out of DV survivor meetings in a hail of blame-splitting psychobabble. But maybe it’s not such a problem for criminals to listen to the perspectives of innocent victims of crimes unrelated to what the perps themselves have done.

    So the only thing I can conclude from Holmes volunteering as a rape victim advocate is that Holmes herself is not a rapist so it doesn’t trigger her to listen to victim narratives in that specific sense. I’m sure the feedback she gives is shallow and leaves survivors a feeling a cringy and unsettled (if she doesn’t just use the opportunity to talk about herself) because she’s a perpetrator of a different stripe who ultimately wouldn’t be capable of fully empathizing with victims of any stripe. I imagine she can at least tolerate rape survivor narratives, but I suspect her head might blow off and her circuits fry if she were forced to listen to victims of financial fraud recounting their loss and suffering.

    Deep thoughts about shallow people on a Tuesday.

    • I wonder if she uses her fake deep voice when she counsels rape victims. That’s a creepy thought.

      • Ewwwww. It sure doesn’t give me much faith in the counseling provided by those organizations. They let felons be counselors? Wtf.

      • I’m sure she has many different personae and voices that she trots out for different audiences. Being flexible and adaptable is the benefit of having no soul and no core self.

        • Before I had a clue, I would say x was chameleon like. Always changing to be like the kind of people he was around.
          Little did I know back then.

          • Being a psycho has its advantages. When I worked in H’wood, I was amazed by how many people there were who had no firm opinions about anything that mattered. I mean, if you’re against eating babies and you end up working for a producer who snacks on toddlers and they catch even a whiff of disapproval from you, it could be a lost opportunity to ride their coattails to fame and fortune! Better to remain neutral on issues like cannibalism just in case. that way you can maintain your pozzy-positive attitude when someone digs into a newborn in front of you. No point in being judgmental and neggy. Ohhmmmmm.

  • CL: “Have you spent much time around sociopaths, Amy? Their heads don’t spin around channeling demons. They’re normal, until they aren’t. My god, she’s eating croissants and not harvested baby livers! Problem here is, you believe you’re special, that “bad people” fit some mold, and you could never be fooled. So, you just got played.”

    Sums up the whole disgusting article. Hissing anaconda… pfffftttt!

    I bet this Amy spin-doctor (she is NOT a jornalist in my dictionary) never saw the documentary ‘The Inventor’. “Liz” was told from the very beggining that what she wanted to do was physicochemically impossible. She also had a very good technical and scientific team, with FAR more training than she will ever have. So her fiasco is NOT due to the fact that she was always “on a stage promoting the company”. Some people familiar with this crazy story feel she drove the Theranos biochemist to suicide.

    I wonder if Elizabeth has some $ hidden away and paid for this timely garbage for image management before her sentencing. And she goes and has two kids when she knows she is going to jail! How entitled can you get!

  • “She seems so normal and motherly!”

    And Ted Bundy volunteered for a suicide prevention program, so what?

  • “Ms. Holmes said as we stopped to look at a hissing anaconda.”

    Sounds like the universe sent Chozik a sign and she was too dim to see it.

    “Holmes is unlike anyone I’ve ever met — modest but mesmerizing. 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. ”

    Duh. That’s what’s known as a psychopath and a con artist. Normal people do not put those cult of personality vibes. People like Chozik are filet mignon for cluster B creepy-crawlies like Holmes.

    • Meant to say put out.
      Heh. That’s something nobody does for FW these days.

  • In other felonious, predatory, psychopathic, fuckwitty scumbag news, I just heard Trump was found guilty of sexual abuse and defamation against E. Jean Caroll. 🤸‍♀️🌞🎊👏
    Let the indictments keep coming and the good times roll!

    • Looks like George Santos may get taken to the woodshed, too.


  • You know, I was feeling sick to my stomach on how I accepted my STBXH lies for years when my gut was screaming for me to run! Now I see how he could fool our Pastor, Elders, Assistant Pastor into RE -baptizing him while a restraining order was in effect and his newest Schmoopie flew in from
    Her online ad to stand by his side. He wowed the members into lunch invitations with his new changed heart just months after D day. If they can be fooled by the at the top echelons of our church, if Schmoopie can be dying to marry him as soon as the ink is dried, maybe I’m not such a schmuck for believing lies and wanting to save our 32 year marriage?Maybe it’s an Academy Award performance like Ms. Elizabeth’s and a whole lot of” innocent ‘ folks who believe what they read. And the NYT is sadly looking for readership and comments to match those of the Enquiror and other low leaf news crazies. Lies sell and pretty blondes bring inquiring minds. Thank you for the shout out to sanity CL! There are many that have broken out of prison on a sad sap story, or I’m different now or my heart is made new….Only to kill again. I hope a few read this column and smarten up. I did.

  • I don’t think there are any anacondas in California. Maybe it was Holmes’s “spirit animal.”

  • If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: The eyes. Look at the eyes. The eyes, the eyes, the eyes. Sociopath.

    • Oh I was just thinking that. She has creepy eyes. It looks like she never blinks.

    • I thought the exact same thing! Her eyes immediately freaked me out when I looked at that photo. It’s the very first thing I felt, a deep creepiness going on. Like the look you see in cult leaders.

  • What’s the end game of these fraud types? At what point do they realize, hey this is going to come crashing down, I need a new plan? Such a massive scale of deception, so many lives affected, it’s abhorrent.

    One of my daughter’s favorite college courses was abnormal psychology, difficult class to get a spot, this would make a fascinating study into the psyche.

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