‘The Dropout’ is a drama series that is a dramatized retelling of the life of Elizabeth Holmes and her startup company Theranos. Initially a promising startup, Theranos becomes a cautionary tale for startup founders in Silicon Valley and beyond. The company comes under intense media scrutiny for its fraudulent practices, which its former employees expose.
In the series, one such employee — Tyler Shultz — grows weary of Holmes’ methods and ethics at Theranos. However, in contrast, he is forced to write a song of adoration for the female CEO. Since the series draws heavily from reality, viewers must be wondering whether such an incident took place in real life. Here’s everything we have gathered on the matter! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Did Tyler Shultz Write a Song for Elizabeth Holmes?
In the sixth episode of ‘The Dropout,’ titled ‘Iron Sisters,’ Theranos employees Tyler Shultz and Erika Cheung witness the malpractices in blood samples’ testing and data manipulation. Tyler is the grandson of Theranos board member and former US Secretary of State, George Shultz. Therefore, he uses his connection to his grandfather to speak with Elizabeth about the situation. At brunch with Tyler’s grandfather, Elizabeth plans her 30th birthday party when Tyler raises his concerns. However, Elizabeth uses the opportunity to get Tyler to sing at her birthday party. Later, Tyler sings a song he has written for Elizabeth at the party.
The scene appears to be a fictional construct created by the show’s makers to further the storyline. Tyler Shultz, who worked at Theranos between 2013 to 2014, became one of the key whistleblowers after working with journalist John Carreyrou to expose the company’s fraudulent practices. In his extensive interviews about Theranos and Holmes, Shultz does not mention writing a song for Holmes and singing it at her birthday party.
Also Read: Where was The Lost City Filmed?
However, Shultz does indeed play the guitar and has spoken about his love for playing music on a guitar. In an interview, Shultz mentioned that he celebrated by playing his guitar following Holmes’ trial, which concluded with the former Theranos CEO being convicted of fraud. Therefore, it seems like the show’s makers have woven Shultz’s real-life affinity for playing guitar into the narrative through a fictionalized scenario.
The scene is pivotal as it highlights Holmes’ desire to assert her dominance over her employees. After Tyler finishes playing the song, Holmes asks him to play it again. Thus, the scene highlights Holmes’ narcissistic tendencies. Simultaneously, it also shows her disregard for her employees and can be seen as a way of undermining Tyler and his concerns about work. Ultimately, the fictional scene adds more depth to the characters of both Tyler and Holmes and the brewing conflict between them.