Ozy Media founder Carlos Watson resigns from NPR board as scandal escalates

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Top line

Carlos Watson, co-founder and chief executive of Ozy Media, resigned his post on the board of directors of NPR, the radio station said on Friday, amid the continuing fallout of a cascade of new revelations about the practices commercials of his digital media company.

Highlights

Watson resigned as a director of NPR ahead of a scheduled meeting between members of the organization’s board to discuss his “future with the public radio network,” according to NPR.

Watson joined NPR’s board of directors in 2016 and was recently re-elected for a second three-year term scheduled to begin next month.

He tendered his resignation in a letter to LaFontaine Oliver, the chairman of the board, who said in a statement that it was accepted and would take effect “today”.

Key context

Ozy Media has lost advertisers, one of its best journalists and the chairman of its board of directors following a series of reports accusing the company of going to great lengths to deceive advertisers, investors and the public. The stunt of bad press was sparked by an explosive report released by The New York Times on Sunday to give detail an incident in which Ozy founder Samir Rao posed as a YouTube executive in an attempt to secure a $ 30 million investment from Goldman Sachs. Watson responded by attributing Rao’s behavior to a mental health crisis, arguing The temperature’ story a “hit”. It opened the floodgates to a litany of revelations about Ozy false declaration investors, exaggerated numbers and a bad corporate culture. Forbes’ Its own reporting has shown how the company falsely advertised one of its key products, the annual Ozy Fest. After exaggerating ticket sales, celebrity bookings and sponsors, the 2019 Ozy festival was dangerously close to being “a Fyre festival,” an employee said. Forbes, but was saved by a happily scheduled heat wave and subsequent insurance payment that appeared to save the business from a big financial loss.

What to watch out for

Ozy Media is said to be under investigation by the FBI, as well as law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkin, Wharton and Garrison, retained by the company’s board of directors to review its business operations earlier this week.

Further reading

“How Ozy Fest Was Set To Become The Next Fyre Festival – Until A Heatwave (And Insurance Claim) Bailed Them Out (Forbes)

“Ozy Media President Marc Lasry Resigns Amid Growing Scandal” (Forbes)

Goldman Sachs, Ozy Media, $ 40 Million Conference Call Goes Wrong (New York Times)

“18-hour days and panic attacks: former Ozy employees allege an abusive environment” (CNN)


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