Ozy Media’s co-founder and chief govt, Carlos Watson, resigned from the board of NPR, the general public radio group mentioned on Friday.
“Mr. Watson’s resignation is efficient as of right this moment,” the chair of NPR’s board, LaFontaine E. Oliver, mentioned in an announcement.
The resignation got here 5 days after The New York Instances revealed an article by media columnist Ben Smith that raised questions on Ozy’s enterprise practices, together with an detailing incident during which an govt apparently impersonated a YouTube govt as Ozy was making an attempt to lift cash.
On Thursday, The Instances revealed one other report from Mr. Smith that, final 12 months, Ozy employed a group to make a chat present for the cable community A&E — “The Carlos Watson Present,” hosted by Mr. Watson. Company have been advised the present would air on A&E, and the present’s govt producer was advised it might premiere in August 2020 in prime time.
The issue: A&E mentioned there was no such deal. The chief producer resigned after discovering out, writing to Ozy’s leaders: “You’re taking part in a harmful recreation with the reality. The results of providing an A&E present to visitors after we don’t have one to supply are catastrophic for Ozy and for me.”
Right here’s what we all know concerning the turmoil at Ozy.
Mr. Watson mentioned the present was being produced for A&E, then YouTube Originals. Neither occurred.
When the manager producer, Brad Bessey, resigned, he advised the present’s employees that this system was not, in actual fact, going to be proven on A&E. Mr. Watson then advised the folks on the Zoom name that “The Carlos Watson Present” would finally wind up on A&E, in line with Mr. Bessey and one different individual on the decision. Till that point, Mr. Watson added, the present would seem on YouTube as half of its YouTube Originals, a slate of programming made by skilled studios and paid for by YouTube.
“The Carlos Watson Present” ended up showing on Ozy.com and on YouTube, though not as a YouTube Authentic. A YouTube official confirmed that the present was not a YouTube Authentic. Mr. Watson and an Ozy spokesperson didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Learn extra concerning the proposed A&E present →
The chairman of Ozy’s board stepped down.
Marc Lasry, the chairman of Ozy’s board and a hedge fund supervisor who can also be a co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, resigned on Thursday, 4 days after The Instances reported that somebody from Ozy appeared to have impersonated a YouTube govt throughout a convention name with Goldman Sachs bankers whereas the corporate was making an attempt to lift $40 million.
“I consider that going ahead Ozy requires expertise in areas like disaster administration and investigations, the place I don’t have specific experience,” Mr. Lasry mentioned in an emailed assertion. “For that purpose, I’ve stepped down from the corporate’s board. I stay an investor within the firm and need it the perfect going ahead.”
Learn extra concerning the resignation of Mr. Lasry →
Ozy misplaced a star anchor.
Katty Kay, who left her job as a BBC anchor and correspondent to hitch Ozy in June, mentioned on Wednesday that she had resigned. “The allegations in The New York Instances, which caught me abruptly, are severe and deeply troubling, and I had no selection however to finish my relationship with the corporate.”
Learn extra concerning the resignation of Ms. Kay →
It additionally misplaced a key investor.
SV Angel, led by the enterprise capitalist Ron Conway, knowledgeable Ozy on Tuesday that it was giving up the shares it had acquired within the firm in 2012, in line with an adviser to SV Angel. (Axios first reported that SV Angel was giving up its shares.)
The board is investigating.
The board mentioned on Tuesday that it had employed Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, a big worldwide agency with headquarters in New York, to conduct a evaluation of Ozy’s enterprise actions. The board additionally mentioned it had requested Samir Rao, the chief working officer of Ozy and the one who apparently impersonated the YouTube govt, “to take a depart of absence pending the outcomes of the investigation.”