Ozy Media’s Swift Collapse Followed a Flurry of Resignations and Accusations

After years of hyping itself as a serious media participant, Ozy lastly grew to become the talk of the industry in latest days—albeit for all of the unsuitable causes. And because the working week wrapped up Friday, The New York Occasions, which first dropped a bombshell Sunday night time, reported that Ozy Media introduced it was shutting down. “At Ozy, we have now been blessed with a exceptional staff of devoted employees,” the corporate’s board of administrators mentioned in an announcement. “A lot of them are world-class journalists and skilled professionals to whom we owe large gratitude and who’re fantastic colleagues. It’s due to this fact with the heaviest of hearts that we should announce at present that we’re closing Ozy’s doorways.”

The corporate’s swift collapse unfurled with a flurry of resignations, revelations, and accusations. Simply hours earlier than Friday’s announcement, Ozy CEO and cofounder Carlos Watson had resigned as a company director of NPR. Watson’s relinquishing his NPR title comes a day after Ozy Media chairman Marc Lasry, a hedge-fund billionaire and the co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, resigned after main Ozy’s operations for nearly three weeks. “I imagine that going ahead Ozy requires expertise in areas like disaster administration and investigations, the place I don’t have specific experience,” Lasry stated. And previous to the Lasry information it was Katty Kay, a former BBC anchor and considered one of Ozy’s greatest stars, announcing that she was departing the media model, writing on Twitter that her exit was as a result of “critical and deeply troubling” allegations made in opposition to Ozy in The New York Occasions. 

Ozy’s P.R. nightmare has solely worsened since Sunday’s Occasions story, which revealed that the corporate’s chief working officer, Samir Rao, allegedly impersonated a YouTube govt throughout a name with Goldman Sachs traders to assert that Ozy’s content material on the video-sharing web site was doing exceptionally nicely. Rao, who might need dedicated securities fraud, was initially defended by each Lasry, who described the incident as an “unlucky one-time occasion,” and Watson, who said Rao had suffered “a really private psychological well being problem.” Occasions media columnist Ben Smith, who wrote the preliminary story, followed up Thursday with claims from Brad Bessey, former govt producer of The Carlos Watson Present, that the Ozy staff misled employees and visitors about the place this system would air. “You might be enjoying a harmful sport with the reality,” Bessey wrote in a farewell electronic mail to Watson and Rao. An Ozy spokesperson didn’t reply to the Occasions’s request for remark.

Previous to Ozy Media being shuttered on Friday afternoon, various main firms suspended their advert partnerships, and Rao, who introduced “a go away of absence pending the outcomes of the investigation,” in keeping with the board, was not the one high-ranking Ozy staffer underneath scrutiny for claims in regards to the firm’s efficiency. In 2019, Watson referred to the now departed Lasry as a “lead investor” in a spherical of funding value $35 million, however Lasry’s funding reportedly amounted to only $1 million, in keeping with Axios. And Sharon Osbourne this week accused Watson of mendacity about her and husband Ozzy Osbourne investing within the firm. “This man is the most important shyster I’ve ever seen in my life,” she instructed CNBC. An Ozy Media spokesperson didn’t reply to CNBC’s request for remark.

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