Right-wing journalist James O'Keefe is no longer with Project Veritas, the journalistic outfit he founded and with which his name is synonymous.
While there are conflicting accounts as to what exactly happened, O'Keefe says he was forced out by the organization's board of directors.
O'Keefe aired the dirty laundry in an emotional speech Monday at Project Veritas' office, in which he dismissed "bizarre hyperbole" about expenses "related to our business needs" and painted his ouster as a coup, suggesting it was somehow related to the organization's expose of Pfizer in January.
O'Keefe said he balked when a board member told him that his removal could be kept secret from Project Veritas' supporters, something he dismissed as "impossible" given his centrality to the organization.
“So currently, I have no job at Project Veritas,” O’Keefe said. “I have no position here based upon what the board has done. So I’m announcing to you all that today on President’s Day, I’m packing up my personal belongings.”
O'Keefe said he sat through a six-hour board meeting -- which he said was recorded -- in which he was severely criticized before he was sent on paid leave.
He was then suspended without pay, but Project Veritas publicly said he had "not been removed" and was on a "well-deserved vacation."
The board claimed in a statement Monday that O'Keefe had rejected their efforts to resolve concerns about his management and "financial malfeasance."
The statement cited $14,000 for a charter flight "to meet someone to fix his boat under the guise of meeting with a donor," $60,000 in losses from "dance events," and over $150,000 “in Black Cars in the last 18 months."
"We did not fire him, nor do we want him to resign," the board said. "We would like to continue conversations with James to resolve internal matters rather than litigate them publicly."
In a tweet, O'Keefe emphasized that he had not resigned.
Since it’s already out there, here are my heartfelt remarks to my staff this morning.
I need to make clear I have not resigned from the company, Project Veritas, I founded 13 years ago. I was stripped of my position as CEO and Chairman.
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) February 21, 2023
O'Keefe -- whose exposes of the left have made him a right-wing folk hero -- has received support from conservative media heavyweights like Steve Bannon, who declared "war" against those allegedly involved in O'Keefe's ouster.
"I just can't believe that the situation with Pfizer [...] is somehow unrelated. This happened at the same time," Bannon said.