Ozy Media and Sharon Osbourne are Feuding
The rapid fall of disgraced media company Ozy has been quite something to watch. Any ordinary observer would find the trainwreck-like story fascinating, with fraud, deception and swindling on the highest level. But it’s been especially scintillating for those of us directly involved with the media.
What’s more, there’s a direct connection to the metal world running through it all. And it involves Sharon Osbourne, matriarch and business extraordinaire of the Osbourne clan.
Here’s a quick recap of the Ozy situation in case you haven’t been following (with thanks to friend o’ MetalSucks Sivan for the recap!). Carlos Wtason, former Goldman Sachs banker turned short-lived MSNBC host, always had ambitions of having his own talk show. When nobody would give him one, he left MSNBC, grabbed another buddy from Goldman, and they formed their own media company and network that they said would be huge. They raised $80 million from Silicon Valley and got really notable names to appear on their shows, but most of the shows were hosted by Watson himself and all of the traffic numbers were made up, lying to their producers and lying to their investors to keep the money train flowing. Then, while trying to raise another $40 million from Goldman, the second founder, Samir Rao, came on the call with a software-altered voice pretending to be a YouTube executive claiming that Ozy had tremendous traffic numbers and revenue. When something seemed fishy, Goldman investigated and figured it out, reported it to YouTube, who in turn reported it to the FBI who in turn reported it to the SEC and IRS. All of this unraveled in a whirlwind five days following a New York Times article on September 26, prompting Ozy to shut down and then abruptly reverse course, saying it would continue.
Which brings us to the present. Watson, Ozy’s founder, appeared on The Today Show yesterday morning (October 4) to attempt to resurrect his badly hobbled public image. And that’s when Sharon Osbourne came into the conversation.
In 2019, according to Variety, Watson had boasted of his friendship with the Osbournes after a legal battle pitted his own Ozy Fest against Ozzfest, the long-running Osbourne-led metal tour that dominated the summer festival landscape in the late ’90s through the ’00s. Watson attempted to portray his current relationship with the Osbournes as convivial, claiming that metal first family were investors in Ozy Media.
And Sharon wasn’t having it. On September 30, she told CNBC that Watson’s claim wasn’t true and called him “the biggest shyster I have ever seen in my life.”
Then, on The Today Show, Watson claimed that Ozy Media granted the Osbournes shares of the company as part of their legal settlement, which he claims made them “investors.” Which is obviously bullshit by way of semantic gymnastics, but is precisely the kind of half-truth Watson is so gifted at telling that’s afforded him success all these years.
Watson took things a step further still, taking a shot at Sharon’s credibility. “Let’s be really clear, I’m not going to raise money by telling sophisticated people that Sharon Osbourne’s an investor,” he continued. “No smart investor is going to say, ‘Oh, great, you’ve got Sharon Osbourne.’”
Both sexist and perpetuating metal stereotypes in one fell swoop. Real class act, this Watson.
For more on Ozy Media and metal, check out this incredible tell-all article written by Oxbow frontman Eugene S. Robinson, who worked at the company for years and details an incredibly toxic, racist and volatile environment led by Carlos Watson.