Famed conservative investigative news outlet, Project Veritas, has landed in hot water recently after disputes between its board and founder James O’Keefe has ultimately led to removing O’Keefe from his position as CEO. While many claimed that O’Keefe voluntarily left Project Veritas, it was later confirmed by multiple reports and O’Keefe himself that he was forced to leave by the company’s board. O’Keefe had been with the company since its founding in 2010 and had been responsible for the uncovering of many high-profile cases, such as the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illicit campaign donations in 2016, Google’s attempt to alter U.S. elections by changing search results, and documenting attempted voter fraud in the 2020 Presidential election.
By Robert Kraychik; February 20, 2023
James O’Keefe, former CEO of Project Veritas, departed on Monday from the undercover journalism organization he founded.
One America News Network’s (OANN) Neil McCabe, a Project Veritas alumnus, reported that O’Keefe resigned from the undercover journalism outlet:
R.C. Maxwell, a spokesperson for Project Veritas, later wrote in a tweet challenging the accuracy of McCabe’s report that O’Keefe had been “removed from his position as CEO by the Project Veritas board”:
O’Keefe was placed on a paid leave of absence earlier in February during an investigation by the organization’s board into his management decisions.
The board’s review of O’Keefe’s continuance as head of Project Veritas followed the composition of a memo composed of some 16 Project Veritas employees accusing O’Keefe of abusive behavior towards them:
O’Keefe was placed on leave as a memo had leaked that employees were complaining and raising concerns about his behavior.
The memo claimed that his staff were “troubled and frustrated” by his management style, and that he would be “outright cruel” to his employees.
They went on to claim that O’Keefe engages in berating behavior and “public crucifixions” of staff members.
Several of Project Veritas’s benefactors sent a cease and desist demand letter to the organization’s board following its placement of O’Keefe on paid leave. They characterized the removal of O’Keefe as violative of Project Veritas’s fiduciary obligations towards use of raised funds for the organization’s stated purposes, highlighting the organization’s emphasis on O’Keefe in its fundraising solicitations:
The Post Millennial’s report on O’Keefe’s departure from Project Veritas noted that some conservative commentators framed O’Keefe as an indispensable person to the organization:
After the 16 staffers sent the letter to the Project Veritas board of directors in early February, “James O’Keefe IS Project Veritas” began to trend on Twitter. Many supporters and donors all balked at the idea that Veritas could continue without O’Keefe at the helm and prominent conservatives gave their support for O’Keefe.
Last week, Project Veritas executive director Daniel Strack issued a public statement with the board of directors regarding recent internal matters at the organization regarding O’Keefe’s status:
Project Veritas also shared a photo of O’Keefe with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. via its Twitter account hours after the release of Strack’s statement with Project Veritas’s board of directors:
Project Veritas’s website has not published information regarding O’Keefe’s reported departure from the organization at the time of this article’s publication.
UPDATE: After this article’s publication, O’Keefe shared a video of himself issuing a final statement to Project Veritas’s employees. “I’ve been stripped of my authority as CEO and removed from the Board of Directors,” he said. In the video, O’Keefe rejected many of the board’s claims against him.
Project Veritas’s Board of Directors issued a statement following O’Keefe’s departure, alleging that “financial malfeasance” was discovered in its review of O’Keefe’s management of the organization. The board claimed its priority is good faith stewardship of donors’ money towards the organization’s stated mission of investigating corruption.
The board’s statement concluded, “Even with all of this public fallout, the Board still wants to speak with James. We did not fire him, nor do we want him to resign. We would like to continue conversations with James to resolve internal matters rather than litigate them publicly.”
Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images