Home Los Angeles News James O’Keefe ousted from right-wing group Project Veritas

James O’Keefe ousted from right-wing group Project Veritas

James O’Keefe ousted from right-wing group Project Veritas

By Jon Passantino | CNN

James O’Keefe, the founder and chairman of Project Veritas — the right-wing activist group known for its selectively edited undercover sting videos targeting journalists and progressive groups — has been ousted from the organization, he told staff in a videotaped speech posted online Monday.

“I’ve been stripped of my authority as CEO and removed from the board of directors,” O’Keefe said in a prepared statement to the group’s staff. “I’m indefinitely suspended from this organization,” he added.

R.C. Maxwell, a Project Veritas spokesperson, said on Twitter that O’Keefe “was removed from his position as CEO by the Project Veritas board.”

The right-wing group, which was founded in 2010 and quickly rose to notoriety, has used its undercover sting videos to target news organizations, including CNN and The New York Times. The group’s highly edited videos, which have often promoted disinformation and conspiracy theories, have been featured prominently on Fox News and in the right-wing media universe to fundraise and generate publicity for the group.

Federal authorities have been investigating Project Veritas for its involvement in the 2020 theft of a diary kept by President Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley. Two people who sold Ashley Biden’s journal and other items to Project Veritas for $40,000 pleaded guilty last year to stealing her belongings.

The removal of O’Keefe from the nonprofit organization that he founded more than a decade ago came after an internal memo reportedly signed by members of the staff earlier this month and presented to the group’s board alleged that O’Keefe was “outright cruel” to his employees.

Daniel Strack, executive director of Project Veritas, acknowledged in a statement last week that there had been “real management concerns regarding the treatment of people” and internal processes at the group. Strack denied that O’Keefe had been removed from Project Veritas, calling him the “hardest working person I have ever met,” but said that O’Keefe had been forced to take time off from the organization.

Earlier that day, the 38-year-old O’Keefe was pictured on a hiking trail in the Santa Monica Mountains with anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

O’Keefe said in the video posted Monday that he had apologized to the group’s board for his “tone” in the office, but that his apology was not accepted or considered sincere.

Project Veritas did not immediately comment on O’Keefe’s departure. When asked for comment earlier this month, O’Keefe did not respond to text messages. When reached by phone, he refused to speak after being informed that a CNN reporter was calling.

O’Keefe pledged to continue his activism and hinted he would form a new organization in his 44-minute speech to the group’s staff Monday.

“I’m not done,” he said. “The mission will perhaps take on a new name.”