Saturday, December 4, 2021

Carlos Watson’s Ozy Media Not Closing Amid Controversial Fraud Claims [VIDEO]
Carlos Watson via Twitter

*Carlos Watson’s Ozy Media is reportedly closing its doors following a scathing New York Times exposé about a conference call gone wrong. 

The closure comes after a co-founder of the company impersonated a YouTube executive during a funding call with a Goldman Sachs banker while attempting to raise $40 million from the investment bank.

Here’s more from the report:

When YouTube learned that someone had apparently impersonated one of their executives at a business meeting, its security team started an investigation. The inquiry didn’t get far before a name emerged: Within days, Mr. Watson had apologized profusely to Goldman Sachs, saying the voice on the call belonged to Samir Rao, the co-founder and chief operating officer of Ozy, according to the four people.

The incident prompted a review of Ozy’s leadership, and despite the company’s announcement that it would be closing, Watson went on TV Monday morning to say that Ozy Media is not going away anytime soon. Watch him tell it via the clip below.

READ MORE: Ozy Media CEO Carlos Watson Steps Down as Host of News and Doc Emmys

“We’re going to open for business,” Watson told “Today” show anchor Craig Melvin. “This is our Lazarus moment, if you will. This is our Tylenol moment. Last week was traumatic. It was difficult, heartbreaking in many ways.”

Per CNN, “The company has already, in effect, dissolved. Three of the five board members resigned in the wake of The New York Times’ Ben Smith exposé about Ozy’s misrepresentations,” the outlet writes.

Watson responded with a tweet calling the New York Times exposé a “ridiculous hitjob.”

Amid rising scrutiny of the company, Ozy announced Friday it is shutting down.

“At Ozy, we have been blessed with a remarkable team of dedicated staff. Many of them are world-class journalists and experienced professionals to whom we owe tremendous gratitude, and who are wonderful colleagues,” the company’s board of directors said in a statement to the Times. “It is therefore with the heaviest of hearts that we must announce today that we are closing Ozy’s doors.”

Ozy launched in 2013 and described itself as “a modern media company producing original TV series podcasts, festivals and news for curious people.”

The company inked production deals with A&E Networks, OWN, Hulu, Amazon Prime, PBS and A&E.

After Ozy claimed its website garnered 50 million monthly unique users, BuzzFeed News reported in 2017 that much of the traffic was “fraudulent” and had been “purchased and delivered via a system that automatically loads specific webpages and redirects traffic between participating websites to quickly rack up views without any human action.”

Per Urban Hollywood 411, Sharon Osbourne has slammed Watson for claiming she and husband Ozzy Osbourne invested in Ozy Media. 

“We’re not ever, ever a friend, and we don’t have any interest in his company,” she said. “This guy is the biggest shyster I have ever seen in my life.”

Since the NYT story was published, Watson resigned from NPR’s board of directors.

The FBI is now reportedly looking into Ozy Media.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.



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