Did James O’Keefe jump or get pushed out of Project Veritas, the gonzo journalism outfit he founded in 2010? Either way, the people who picked a fight with O’Keefe are obviously feeling the heat from angry supporters. On Thursday, they tried to patch things up with friends and supporters.
The battle between the two sides has been ugly. The battle between the board and supporters and donors might be uglier.
On Feb. 20, we reported that the Project Veritas board removed O’Keefe from his CEO position and board seat. We included O’Keefe’s video in which he acknowledged he’d been pushed out and had come to his office to pick up his personal items.
Then the organization’s board of directors responded with a clarification that they just suspended him for a limited time, a version of events that we also reported.
In the meantime, it looks like both sides called their lawyers again because O’Keefe clarified his status in an Instagram post by saying he didn’t resign.
View this post on Instagram
But now Project Veritas is back with another clarification basically saying, hey, we never threatened his job; trust us!
The “Project Veritas Team” sent an email with the subject line, “we hold everyone accountable, especially ourselves.” It distinctly separated “the team” from the board and alluded to the fact that the organization is getting lit up by O’Keefe fans. Whoever the team is, they hoped that “you might continue to give us a chance. We can’t stress how separate the board’s role is from daily operations here at PV. We are still grinding and pursuing stories of great public importance.”
“The Team” wrote:
James’ “removal” was not a removal. He specifically said he did not resign, and the board did not fire him. The board placed him on a temporary suspension until the audit was completed. The board wanted him to delegate management of staff to the department heads so he can focus his true talent, efforts, and best use of his time on the journalism/stories and less on the day-to-day personnel management.
[…] For what it’s worth, there are 60+ of us here at PV who remain passionately dedicated to James’ mission. It is what brought all of us together. While we cannot control online narratives, and unfortunately cannot chime in to individually defend ourselves in the public sphere at present, we can assure you we remain steadfast and determined to expose corruption.
The email included a video showing the faces and names of Project Veritas reporters who routinely have their identities hidden for obvious reasons in order to show apparently that other reporters do a lot of the heavy lifting for stories. Like we didn’t know that. How long would James O’Keefe have the ability to do undercover sting videos before he was as recognizable as Mike Wallace?
The video was meant to convey that we’re still in business! Please love us!
But there has been considerable blowback online.
Project Veritas = 1.4M
James O’Keefe = 1.1M
Project Veritas = 1.2M
James O’Keefe = 1.3M
— TexasLindsay™ (@TexasLindsay_) February 21, 2023
Donors quit the company.
I am actively requesting all funds back from @Project_Veritas – Execs of the Veritas coordinated a fund raising event with me & James O'Keefe on @TwitterSpaces, Jan 28th 2023, knowing they were ousting @JamesOKeefeIII
This was deceptive charity campaign practices.
— Grant Cardone (@GrantCardone) February 20, 2023
And Candace Owens.
I am a donor, and I do not care that James O’Keefe takes black cars.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) February 21, 2023
Project Veritas donor Dianna Remmers said “her interactions with James were misrepresented” by the letter the board had sent.
A donor who was mentioned in the list of allegations against @JamesOKeefeIII that resulted in him being placed on leave from Project Veritas has refuted the claims. In a video posted on Instagram, Dianna Remmers said her interactions with James were misrepresented in the letter. pic.twitter.com/JRdMA6dEfd
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) February 11, 2023
The board says they believe O’Keefe misspent company funds, including some on himself, and wanted him gone until a “two-dimensional” audit was done. For fiduciaries of a 501c3 organization, that can be a big deal with the IRS.
O’Keefe was also criticized for the harsh way he treats employees.
One meme on social media right now asks an interesting question. It goes something like this, So, a room full of undercover journalists who use video to out bad guys didn’t get one video of O’Keefe dressing down employees?
We’re not saying it didn’t happen, but it is interesting.
O’Keefe’s — temporary? — ouster might end up being more interesting than some of the stories his organization exposed.