Ozy Media CEO Carlos Watson Exits as Host of News and Doc Emmys

Move comes after New York Times exposé of Ozy’s operations

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Ozy Media CEO Carlos Watson will not be hosting the news and documentary Emmy Awards. The pull-out came two days after a New York Times exposé on the operations of his company.

A representative for the program told TheWrap, “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. 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.

As announced last week, Watson was slated to host Wednesday’s documentary 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’ 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 spoke to TheWrap and called the Times piece “a bulls— ad hominem attack,” defending co-founder Samir Rao for impersonating a Google executive on a call with Goldman Sachs representatives and disputing 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. 

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