Ozy Media’s rapid collapse followed a wave of resignations and accusations

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After years of exaggerate as a major media player, Ozy has finally become the topic of industry conversation in recent days, but for all the wrong reasons. And as the work week ended on Friday, The New York Times, which first dropped a bomb on Sunday night, reported that Ozy Media announced it was shutting down. “At Ozy, we are fortunate to have a remarkable team of dedicated staff,” the company’s board of directors said in a statement. “Many of them are world-class journalists and experienced professionals to whom we owe immense gratitude and who are wonderful colleagues. It is therefore with a heavy heart that we must announce today that we are closing the doors of Ozy.

The rapid collapse of the company was accompanied by a wave of resignations, disclosures and accusations. Hours before Friday’s announcement, the CEO and co-founder of Ozy Carlos watson had resigned as a director of NPR. Watson’s relinquishment of his NPR title comes a day after Ozy Media chairman Marc Lasry, a hedge fund billionaire and part owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, resigned after running Ozy’s operations for about three weeks. “I think to move forward, Ozy requires experience in areas such as crisis management and investigations, where I don’t have any particular expertise,” Lasry said. And before the news from Lasry, it was Katty Kay, a former BBC presenter and one of Ozy’s biggest stars, announcing she was leaving the media brand, writing on Twitter that her exit was due to the “serious and deeply disturbing” allegations made against Ozy in The New York Times.

Ozy’s PR nightmare has only gotten worse since Sunday Times story, which revealed that the chief operating officer of the company, Samir Rao, allegedly impersonated a YouTube executive during a call with Goldman Sachs investors to claim that Ozy’s content on the video-sharing site was performing exceptionally well. Rao, who could have committed securities fraud, was first defended by Lasry, who described the incident as an “unfortunate one-time event,” and Watson, who said Rao suffered “from a problem. very personal mental health “. Times media columnist Ben Smith, who wrote the initial story, followed on Thursday with statements from Brad Bessey, former executive producer of The Carlos Watson show, that the Ozy team misled staff and guests as to where the program would be shown. “You are playing a dangerous game with the truth,” Bessey wrote in a farewell email to Watson and Rao. A spokesperson for Ozy did not respond to the Timesrequest for comments.

Ahead of the Ozy Media shutdown on Friday afternoon, a number of large companies suspended advertising partnerships, and Rao, who announced “a leave pending investigation results,” according to the board of directors, Wasn’t the only high-ranking member of Ozy’s staff under surveillance for allegations about the company’s performance. In 2019, Watson called Lasry, now deceased, a “lead investor” in a $ 35 million funding round, but Lasry’s investment would only amount to $ 1 million, according to Axios . And Sharon osbourne this week accused Watson of lying about her and her husband Ozzy Osbourne invest in the business. “This guy is the biggest con artist I’ve ever seen in my life,” she told CNBC. A spokesperson for Ozy Media did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

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