In a gripping read, Tyler Shultz tells the Wall Street Journal that he voiced his concerns to regulators and the press about the goings-on at Theranos in part to protect the reputation of his grandfather, George Shultz, a former secretary of state and company director. But, Theranos responded with lawyers and private investigators, the younger Shultz tells the Journal, and it strained his relationship with his grandfather.
"The story of Tyler Shultz gives the impression that the senior staff at Theranos, including its CEO Elizabeth Holmes, got swept up in its own hyperbole," MIT's Technology Review adds. "And, when called out, it seems to have resorted to bullying, intimidation, and cripplingly expensive legal proceedings in an attempt to silence the whistleblower."
Tyler Shultz tells the Journal that he first pointed out quality control and other issues at Theranos to Elizabeth Holmes, its CEO, but that then-company President Sunny Balwani, to whom his email was forwarded, instead questioned Shultz's grasp of science and math. Shultz then went to New York State's public health lab and the Wall Street Journal. He also quit his job at Theranos.
In response, Theranos accused him of leaking trade secrets and violating a confidentiality agreement, and pressured him, using his relationship with his grandfather, to reveal that he had been speaking with a reporter, the Journal writes. In the process, the younger Shultz and his parents have accumulated $400,000 in legal fees, it adds, and Tyler Shultz has seen his grandfather in some 18 months.