OG Media will shut down
OG Media, the digital media company that has come under scrutiny for its business practices in recent days, announced on Friday that it was shutting down.
“At OG, we have found a remarkable team of dedicated employees,” the company’s board of directors said in a statement. “Many of them are world-class journalists and seasoned professionals for whom we are so grateful and who are wonderful collaborators. So with the most heavy heart we must announce today that we are closing Ozzy’s doors.”
The company was founded in 2013 under the leadership of former MSNBC anchor Carlos Watson. It attracted high-profile investors including Emerson Collective, the organization run by Laurene Powell Jobs, and Mark Larry, a hedge fund manager and co-owner. Milwaukee Bucks Basketball Franchise.
In a statement last week, Emerson Collective distanced itself from Ozzy, saying it “did not participate in Ozzy’s latest investment round and has not served on its board since 2019.” On Thursday Mr. Larry resigned as chairman of the OG board.
The shutdown was announced five days after The New York Times published an article that raised questions about the company, including details of an episode in which a top Ozzie executive held a conference with Goldman Sachs bankers. A YouTube executive was impersonated during the call. The company was trying to raise $40 million.
Ozy’s success depends in part on the performance of the company’s videos on YouTube. On the conference call, the impersonator told the Goldman Sachs team that Ozzy was a huge success on stage.
Following the call, YouTube’s owner, Google, alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Goldman Sachs received an inquiry from federal law enforcement officials, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. The FBI’s regional office in San Francisco would not confirm or deny the existence of the investigation.
The board said Tuesday that it has hired Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, a large international firm headquartered in New York, to review Ozzy’s business activities. The board also said it had asked Ozzie’s chief operating officer Sameer Rao, and the person who apparently impersonated the YouTube executive, “to take a leave of absence pending the results of the investigation.”
After the article was published, Ozzy lost one of its biggest stars when former BBC anchor Katy Kay, who joined the company earlier this year after nearly three decades at the British broadcaster, announced that he has resigned. Ms Kay wrote on Twitter that she submitted her resignation on Tuesday morning, adding that “the allegations in The New York Times, which surprised me, are serious and deeply disturbing and that I have no choice but to end our relationship.” There was no option. Company.”
On Thursday, The Times published another report that, last year, OG hired a team to produce a talk show for cable network A&E – “The Carlos Watson Show”, which was written by Mr. Watson. was hosted. Guests were told that the show would air on A&E, and the show’s executive producer was told that it would premiere in prime time in August 2020.
Problem: A&E said there was no such deal. The executive producer resigned after finding out, writing to the leaders of Ozzy: “You’re playing a dangerous game with the truth. Offering guests an A&E show when we don’t have one to offer.” The consequences are devastating for Ozzy and me.”
When the executive producer, Brad Bessie, resigned, he told the show’s staff that the program was not actually being shown on A&E. Mr Watson then told People on a Zoom call that “The Carlos Watson Show” would eventually end on A&E, according to Mr Basie and another person on the call. Until that time, Mr Watson said, the show will appear on YouTube as part of its YouTube Originals, a slate of programming created by professional studios and paid for by YouTube.
“The Carlos Watson Show” appeared on Ozy.com and YouTube, though not as a YouTube original. A YouTube official confirmed that the show was not a YouTube original. Mr Watson and spokesmen for OG did not respond to requests for comment.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.