Ozy shuts down after allegations of lies and misconduct within the company
Ozy is shutting down less than a week after a New York Times column raised questions about the allegations of the media organization millions of viewers and readers, while reporting a potential case of securities fraud.
The story sparked canceled shows, an internal investigation, investor concern and high-level departures in the company.
An emailed statement from Ozy Media’s board of directors on Friday called it a company with many “world-class journalists and seasoned professionals to whom we owe immense gratitude.” He said it was “with the heaviest of heart that we must announce today that we are closing the doors of Ozy.”
The board’s statement did not give the reason for shutting down the Mountain View, California-based company. Ozy did not answer questions about why it is shutting down now or how many employees it has.
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Ozy CEO, former cable news commentator and host Carlos Watson, started Ozy in 2013. He has published articles on his website, created podcasts, newsletters and shows, and hosted the OzyFest festival. Her website remained online Friday afternoon.
The Times report said Ozy COO and co-founder Samir Rao impersonated a YouTube executive during a call with Goldman Sachs as he tried to raise funds with the investment bank. He also answered long-standing questions from the industry about whether Ozy was inflating the size of his audience.
In a tweet, Watson claimed 25 million newsletter subscribers – the New York Times, with a much larger brand presence, says it has 15 million newsletter readers – and over 30 million views on YouTube. The Times said less than 500,000 people visited Ozy’s website in June and July, according to data from Comscore.
Thusday, Marc Lasry, hedge fund billionaire and co-owner of Milwaukee Bucks who had been appointed president of Ozy in September, resigned, citing Ozy’s need for someone experienced in crisis management and investigations. He remained an investor.
A high-profile employee, former BBC presenter Katty Kay, resigned earlier in the week, and an early investor, a venture capitalist, gave up his Ozy shares. The board reportedly hired a law firm to review Ozy’s business activities.
Cable network A&E hosted a Watson-hosted mental health special that was scheduled for Monday night, and Watson stepped down from hosting an Emmy Awards documentary on Wednesday night.
The Crunchbase website, which tracks corporate fundraising, said Ozy had raised more than $ 70 million from investors by the end of 2019.