Ozy Media in more hot water amid two federal investigations

Image Courtesy of OZY Media

For the last couple months, Ozy Media has been the center of a variety of scandals relating to the validity of their business practices and claims. The digital entertainment company was founded in 2013 by Samir Rao. The aim of Ozy media was to cover trends and topics in entertainment that were both appealing to a young adult demographic, as well as new and fresh in terms of coverage. Their varied programming includes podcasts, digital courses, and some Emmy Award-winning TV shows. Though, it was not their content that landed them in hot water, but rather false claims to investors that garnered financial support under false pretenses. It was a series of articles by The New York Times that began with reporting that Rao was falsely claiming to be a YouTube executive. His impersonation was meant to convince investors that Ozy media was very successful on YouTube, having a wide, dedicated fanbase on the platform.

This was followed by false claims made by Ozy’s co-founder and producer for The Carlos Watson Show; Carlos Watson claimed that the show was scheduled to air on A&E, when in fact, no such agreement has ever been made by the network. After that, a 2019 interview with Watson resurfaced, where he had claimed that celebrities, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, were investors in Ozy Media. Another lie that was publicly debunked by the Osbourne family as reported by CNBC. What could be described as a slow-motion car crash eventually caused Ozy’s investors, including one of their chairmen, Marc Lasry, as well as key investor, SV Angel, to give up their shares and step away from the company. BBC anchor, Katty Kay, who had worked for Ozy for the last year had also decided to resign.

“Calling Ozy Media a Dumpster Fire is an Insult to Dumpsters and Fires”

Colby Hall- Mediaite Founding Editor

With the number of reports regarding Ozy’s deception stacking up, both the Securities Exchange Commission and Department of Justice have began investigating for more instances of Fraud. What they uncover could potentially lead to criminal charges. In the meantime, this is an important reminder that nothing ruins the truth like stretching it. Ozy Media was more focused on the perception of success, rather than taking the steps to achieve it. The amount of time that was spent fabricating the lies making Ozy Media seem popular among their demographic, could have actually been spent doing market research to understand the audience that they claimed to have.

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