A key prosecution witness whose testimony helped convict Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes of fraud sued Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) on Thursday over a recent Hulu miniseries that he says defamed him by portraying him as corrupt.
Adam Rosendorff, a former Theranos lab director, objected in a New York state court filing to a fictional character who held the same job in “The Dropout,” which starred Amanda Seyfried as Holmes, chronicling her rise and fall at the blood-testing startup.
Rosendorff said the character, Mark Roessler, covered up Theranos’ fraud by ordering the destruction of damaging lab results, falsifying records and engaging in other dishonest and unethical conduct.
According to Rosendorff, the portrayal has had a “devastating effect” on his reputation and career as a physician because media and even acquaintances have concluded that Roessler was based on him.
“At the time of the trial, (Rosendorff) was considered a heroic whistle-blower, a witness who was instrumental in the jury’s verdict convicting Holmes,” the filing said. “Now he has been falsely portrayed as a perjurer, a criminal, and of being completely unfit to practice his profession.”
“The Dropout” made its debut last March.
Neither Disney nor Hulu immediately responded to requests for comment. Disney owns 67% of Hulu, while Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA.O) NBCUniversal owns 33%.
Richard Altman, a lawyer for Rosendorff, said neither he nor his client would have additional comment.
Holmes, 39, was found guilty in January 2022 and later sentenced to 11-1/4 years in prison for defrauding investors in Theranos, which was once valued at $9 billion.
Now a mother of two young children, Holmes is trying to delay her sentence while she appeals her conviction. Prosecutors have opposed a delay, calling Holmes a flight risk.
The case is Rosendorff v Hulu LLC et al, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 152734/2023.