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Opinion
Stephen L. Carter

Elizabeth Holmes’s Humiliation Is Part of Her Punishment

The public is entitled to feel some schadenfreude when the famous are brought low.

Her sentencing is an occasion for schadenfreude.

Her sentencing is an occasion for schadenfreude.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America

Upon hearing that Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison, social media erupted with vituperative glee. A lot of people seem to think that the 38-year-old Theranos founder, convicted of fraud earlier this year, is getting what she deserves.

Fair enough. Holmes’s deceptions about her company’s technology cost investors hundreds of millions of dollars and, according to the judge, her contrition was at best minimal. She could hardly have expected to walk away with the 18-month sentence her lawyers requested. And although this is hardly the end of the litigation — an appeal is forthcoming, according to her lawyers — the public fascination with the case is itself a source of fascination.