We've Got Hollywood Covered

Carlos Watson Claims Ozy Is Still ‘Open for Business’ (Video)

Founder and CEO says embattled company is having a ”Lazarus moment,“ but not shutting down

Carlos Watson said Monday that his company, Ozy Media, is not shutting down in spite of what the board announced Friday.

“We’re going to open for business, so we’re making news today,” the founder and CEO told Craig Melvin on NBC’s “Today.”

“This is our Lazarus moment, if you will,” Watson said. “Last week was traumatic. It was difficult — heartbreaking in many ways — and at the end of the week, we did suspend operations with a plan to wind down, but as we spent time over the weekend, we talked to advertising partners, we talked to some of our readers, some of our viewers, some of our investors.”

Watson offered no details about funding for the company, staffing or who on the board approved the move to go forward.

A representative for the board did not immediately return a request for comment on Watson’s Monday declaration.

The board announced Friday that Ozy Media was shutting down, less than a week after a New York Times exposé shook the company, revealing leadership had inflated traffic numbers, not been entirely honest in advertising and faced an FBi investigation after COO Samir Rao impersonated a Google executive in an effort to secure Goldman Sachs fundraising.

“At Ozy, we have been blessed with a remarkable team of dedicated staff. 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 announced today that we are closing Ozy’s doors,” the board said in its statement.

On Monday, Watson told “Today” he was not on the conference call with Rao and Goldman Sachs. “Part of the fund-raising process, you end up talking to a lot of people, and I’m not on every call,” he said, adding that he has not heard from the FBI about any criminal fraud investigation stemming from the call.

The official announcement of the company’s shuttering came after a week that saw the exit of senior executives and investors, including respected TV journalist and producer Katty Kay, investors Laurene Powell Jobs, Ron Conway and Marc Lasry, who resigned as chairman of the board just weeks after being named to the position.