(LifeSite) Conservative undercover journalism operation Project Veritas has formally responded to rumors that its board of directors had placed founder James O’Keefe on leave and were considering removing him from the organization.
“At Project Veritas, we believe in radical transparency coupled with respect, empathy, and honesty,” Executive Director Daniel R. Strack wrote in a statement released February 15.
— Project Veritas (@Project_Veritas) February 15, 2023
Writing on behalf of five members of Project Veritas’ board of directors, Strack spoke about the staff member feedback that ultimately sparked rumors that O’Keefe, fresh off Project Veritas’ blockbuster report about Pfizer’s alleged involvement in mutating the COVID virus to make new vaccines, was being sidelined by the organization’s leadership.
According to Strack, verbal remarks from “a number of our staff members” led the board to “solicit feedback from additional” employees. That letter was ultimately leaked to the press, triggering a deluge of reports suggesting O’Keefe was on his way out.
On February 8, New York Magazine reported that O’Keefe had been placed on paid leave as the Project Veritas “board considers whether to remove him from his leadership position.” The report cited “current and former employees of the organization” and the leaked internal letter.
On the same day, Strack released a vague statement noting that the board and management were “constantly evaluating what the best path forward is for the organization,” and that its more than 65 staff members remained “dedicated to continuing the mission to expose corruption, dishonesty, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions.”
The statement failed to tamp down rumors that O’Keefe was being pushed out of the nonprofit he founded.
Former Project Veritas journalist Laura Loomer expressed a sentiment shared by many, opining that Project Veritas can’t exist without O’Keefe.
“I love you James,” she continued, going on to float the possibility that Pfizer was influencing the board to remove O’Keefe following the viral investigative report in which a Pfizer employee said the company was mutating the SARS-CoV-2 virus to create new vaccines.
“Would be a shame if Pfizer was trying to extort PV board members,” Loomer wrote. “All I’m going to say is, this attack looks like it’s ‘Sponsored by Pfizer.’”
In his February 15 statement, Strack sought to shoot down all such rumors.
“The narrative that is being portrayed by referencing this letter is patently false,” Strack said. “James has not been removed from Project Veritas. Nowhere in that letter was there ever a suggestion to remove James from the organization.”
He went on to praise O’Keefe as “the hardest working person I have ever met,” and said “[t]hose who know him well know that he will not take time off unless forced to.”
The letter didn’t go into further detail about the circumstances that “forced” O’Keefe to take time away from the nonprofit.
He acknowledged, however, that “the timing of this situation alongside the biggest story in our organization’s history is confusing,” something which he said has exposed the issue to “conspiracy theories.”
Strack specifically highlighted the suggestion made by Loomer and others, stating directly that “we are still, in no way, and will never be, ‘Brought to you by Pfizer,” and don’t “have any political preferences for any candidates running for office.”