Former BBC journalist Katty Kay quits US media firm

Former BBC News presenter Katty Kay has quit her role at the US media company Ozy Media after just three months.Katty Kay worked for the BBC for three decadesKatty Kay

It comes after the New York Times reported that an executive at the firm tried to deceive potential investors on a conference call.

Ms Kay, who left the BBC this summer after more than three decades, said the allegations were “deeply troubling” and she “had no choice” but to cut ties.

The BBC has contacted Ozy Media for comment.

Announcing the move on Twitter, Ms Kay said: “I had recently joined the company after my long career at the BBC, excited to explore opportunities in the digital space.

“I support the mission to bring diverse stories and voices to the public conversation. But the allegations in The New York Times, which caught me be surprise, are serious and deeply troubling and I had no choice but to end my relationship with the company.”

Ms Kay joined Ozy in June after hosting a podcast with its founder and chief executive, former CNN anchor Carlos Watson. The podcast was jointly produced by Ozy and the BBC.

The Californian start-up, which was launched in 2013, produces podcasts, television series and events.

On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Ozy co-founder Samir Rao had impersonated a senior leader at YouTube during a conference call with Goldman Sachs in February. At that point the investment bank was considering making a $40m investment in the media company.

Mr Rao reportedly claimed that Ozy’s videos were highly popular on YouTube.

According to the Times, the investors realised something was awry and did not go through with the deal. Goldman declined to comment when contacted by the BBC.

Mr Watson told the New York Times that Mr Rao had been suffering a mental health crisis and had taken time off after the conference call, before returning to work.

Yet on Tuesday, Ozy told the paper it had launched an internal investigation into the firm’s business practices. It has also asked Mr Rao to take a leave of absence “pending the results”.

Ozy is backed by high profile investors including publisher Axel Springer and venture capitalists GSV.

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