Ozy Media CEO Carlos Watson will not be hosting Wednesday’s Emmy Awards ceremony for news and documentaries. Watson’s exit came two days after a New York Times exposé on the operations of his company.
“Carlos Watson has graciously reached out to us and asked to be removed from his hosting duties tomorrow night so as not to distract the focus from the talented nominees in the documentary categories of the 42nd News & Documentary Emmy Awards,” a representative for the program told TheWrap. “As such, we are moving forward with our three presenters who will be sharing the hosting duties throughout the evening.”
The three presenters who will share the duties are documentarians June Cross, CJ Hunt and Sonja Sohn.
Watson had been slated to host Wednesday’s ceremony after winning in the news discussion and analysis category last year. Tuesday’s events will still be hosted by a slate of news media professionals including CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell.
Ozy Media came under intense criticism this week following a New York Times exposé accusing the company of inflating its web and video numbers and revealing an FBI fraud investigation into one of its top executives.
On Monday, Watson told TheWrap the Times piece “a bulls— ad hominem attack,” defended co-founder Samir Rao for impersonating a Google executive on a call with Goldman Sachs representatives and disputed that Ozy has overstated its web and video stream figures.
He said the company’s revenue last year rose to $50 million, and came primarily from non-web properties including newsletters, podcasts, TV shows and Facebook and YouTube streams. Live festivals, another important revenue stream for the company, have been on hiatus during COVID.