Ozy Media, a once upon a time favorite of huge investors, has fallen from grace after the digital media company has come under investigation for its business practices. On Friday, The New York Times reported that company announced that it was shutting down operations. Investors, media personalities and advertisers left the online platform in droves and its closure became inevitable.
Led by former MSBNC anchor Carlos Watson Ozy media envisioned the formation of a multi-platform media company with diverse content that was not provided by other media outlets. It wished to appeal to a younger generation of readers.
In a statement on Friday, the board of directors at Ozy media praised its dedicated staff. It described them as “world-class journalists” and said that they announced the closure of Ozy media with the “heaviest of hearts.”
Headquartered in Mountain View, California the media company had a motto of “the new and the next.” Axios reported that the media outlet had 75 full time employees as well as several freelance writers. As of now, the status of both groups’ future is unknown.
On Sunday, the Times reported that an Ozy media executive, later reported to be COO Samir Rao, acted as if he was a YouTube executive on a conference call with Goldman Sachs. The company said that it was unable to come on Zoom for the approximately $40 million investment call due to alleged network issues and changed it to a conference call.
After the reports of the impersonation of a YouTube executive on a call, there was an investigation by the video platform giant and it was reported to the FBI. Following the report by the Times, there was a flight of staff and advertisers including former BBC anchor Katty Kay on Wednesday and Marc Lasry on Thursday. Large advertisers also withdrew support sending the company to a spin before its imminent shutdown.
CNBC also reported that the media company used Ozy Fest without permission from Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne. Osbourne threatened the company with a lawsuit in 2017, despite Watson leveraging his connections.
Ozy media is named after a famous sonnet “Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The poet reflects that all power is temporary. A media company that was the blue-eyed boy of Silicon Valley has been reduced to emptiness due to mismanagement, misconduct as well as lies, although it had a lot of talent.