Ozy Media, the digital media company at the center of a firestorm over its business practices, announced that it is shutting down on Friday.
Ozy came under fire earlier this week after The New York Times published an article revealing how a top executive at the media firm had attempted to impersonate a YouTube executive on a conference call with bankers at Goldman Sachs, which had been weighing a $40 million investment in Ozy. The Times also raised doubts about Ozy’s claims about its web traffic, views of its YouTube videos, and its number of newsletter subscribers.
Following the Times’ story, more unflattering news articles were published about Ozy’s allegedly toxic workplace environment and false claims about a video production deal with YouTube. This week has seen some of the company’s high-profile talents, like former BBC journalist Katty Kay, resign from Ozy as a result of the revelations. On Thursday, the company’s chairman, hedge fund billionaire Marc Lasry, stepped down from Ozy’s board.
On Friday, Ozy’s board put out a statement confirming that the media firm would permanently cease operations.
“At Ozy, we have been blessed with a remarkable team of dedicated staff,” its board said in a statement. “Many of them are world-class journalists and experienced professionals to whom we owe tremendous gratitude and who are wonderful colleagues. It is therefore with the heaviest of hearts that we must announce today that we are closing Ozy’s doors.”
The media firm’s investors included Laurene Powell Jobs, Germany publisher Axel Springer, former Google executive David Drummond, and Lasry. As of April 2020, the company had raised more than $83 million in funding at a valuation of at least $159 million, according to PitchBook.
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