James O’Keefe joined Jack Posobiec and Human Events Daily for an exclusive interview on Wednesday, which marked the first time O’Keefe sat down to talk publicly about his recent ouster from Project Veritas, the company he founded 14 years ago, and his brand new venture, OMG, or O’Keefe Media Group.
OMG, launched on Wednesday, will be an Act 2 for the former Veritas CEO and investigative journalism icon. This new project will have a few notable changes from the Veritas model.
OMG will not be a not-for-profit, as Veritas was, but a subscription model. This means that it will not be at the mercy of Board whims, and a subscription basis means that O’Keefe will not have to court donors. And part of the OMG project will be to train a new crop of investigative journalists.
O’Keefe’s ouster from Veritas was a shock to many, and Posobiec asked if he was ready to discuss the events that led to his departure.
“If you’re willing to share anything with us on that ,” Posobiec said, “people are so confused. It’s like a roller coaster and everyone’s head is spinning with whiplash over this.”
He laid out how it went down: “The Pfizer video drops— this thing, the last time I checked it was at like 30 million, probably up to 50 million views at this point— one of if not the biggest Project Veritas video that I’ve ever seen, has come out, one of the biggest stories, just an absolute apex moment.
“And then suddenly the breaks are put on hold. It feels like there’s all this instability, you leave the organization. Can you walk us through those six weeks is what was going on or from your perspective, are you able to share that with us?”
O’Keefe referenced his remarks upon his departure. He had prepared a letter, and delivered that letter to his 65 staff via a Vimeo video. Shortly after he sent it to staff, it was leaked. O’Keefe said that he did not leak it.
In that letter, O’Keefe had expressed his own measure of confusion. “I don’t have answers to why they’ve been doing what they’ve been doing,” he wrote, “or why board members were going directly to employees to collect a list of grievances on the week of our biggest story ever. Or why our board members were going to employees directly to discuss removing me from Project Veritas – on the same week of our biggest story of all time.”
“I don’t know if you guys saw my my remarks departing. Did you? Did you happen to see those?” O’Keefe asked Posobiec, “I mean, I that’s basically what I have to say about the matter. And it was, I said to my staff, of 60 people, 65 people, and it was then it was leaked. I recognize that when you know, distributed me a link to 70 people someone’s gonna probably leak it, but I didn’t leak it. You know, and that’s what I have to say about the matter. It’s all there.”
He said that he ran the company in an orthdox way, took responsibility for everything as the CEO.
“I was taking responsibility for everything,” he said. “I did my yearly audits, I had my quarterly financial statements. But it was it was quite bizarre— this deal about black cars and sandwiches.”
The letter signed by 16 staffers detailing their grievances, combined with a statement from the Board after O’Keefe left detailing what saw were his excesses, mentioned that he took took many “black cars,” or hired cars from place to place. Another grievance said bizarelly that O’Keefe had taken a staffer’s sandwich.
“If you watch my ad for OMG,” he said, “I actually get out of a black car and I throw a sandwich. It was a homage to these really strange things. And I’ve been the same man for 13 years I’ve probably improved a bit.”
“But I think in a media organization in a media company, most media news organizations are corrupted at the top,” O’Keefe said. “In traditional newsrooms, journalists don’t really do journalism. Investigative journalism is a thing of the past, because most organizations are pursuing a profit or they don’t understand how to run a balance sheet as it when it pertains to investigative reporting.
“So having ethics and integrity is going to be critical,” he said, veering into his plans for OMG. “And sometimes it’s not always profitable, if you’re trying to squeeze profit. But I ran that organization. I spent 14 years of my life building a credible news organization.
And suddenly there was an emergency to oust me all of a sudden, which doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t make sense that the view but I would, I would say to you that I learned a lot from it. I’m going to be more effective as a result of it. I’ve certainly seen a lot of evil and darkness, but I’ve also really seen a lot of good.
“I’ve been able to identify a few people that are absolutely, I mean, amazing human beings, that have gone through this with me and have been by my side.
“This is a movement that requires really strong people in their souls. Absolutely unyielding, won’t bend at the knee won’t be pressured. People that will do it for free. Which some of us have been doing your jack for the last couple of weeks. You know, sleeping on the floor. And eating pizza and doing what we have to do. That’s what we’re doing over here, because we believe in it.
“And I think I’ll be more effective as a result of this. And I’ve learned a lot of things that will help me as I venture to the next level, which is to equip 1000s of people with the cameras as opposed to just a couple dozen,” O’Keefe said.
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