James O’Keefe Isn't Coming Back - Can Project Veritas Survive?

James O'Keefe. SOURCE: ProjectVeritas

When reports emerged in February that guerrilla journalist and conservative activist James O’Keefe would be ousted from his role as CEO of Project Veritas, just weeks after his involvement in the bombshell Pfizer exposé, the backlash was immense. Politicians, activists, donors, and grassroots supporters leapt to his defense, arguing James O’Keefe and Project Veritas were one and the same, and said they would no longer support the organization over the mistreatment of its founder.

Amid the tidal wave of criticism, including a letter of support for O’Keefe from Veritas’s largest donors and bleeding hundreds of thousands of social media followers, the organization’s board remained undeterred. O’Keefe was ousted.

Although the Board of Directors still denies that it fired O’Keefe, it made no secret of its displeasure with his leadership. In a statement at the height of the backlash, the board accused O’Keefe of financial malfeasance, including “hundreds of acts as personal inurement” amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. They also claimed he had created a toxic work environment. Whether O’Keefe resigned or was fired was immaterial; the board got what it wanted. 

O’Keefe, whose personal brand has proven itself stronger than Project Veritas itself, has already moved on to pastures new. Earlier this month, he announced the launch of the eponymous O’Keefe Media Group (OMG), a for-profit media company pledging to build “an army of investigators and exposers along with the most elite journalists in the world.” At this point, any hopes that O’Keefe will make a triumphant return to Veritas are dead in the water. 

With O’Keefe’s alleged reign of terror now in the past, Project Veritas is now fighting for its own survival. In its statement, the board admitted that its financial health had been a “serious concern for several months now.” Yet despite the lingering public anger and fears for its financial sustainability, it is clear that as far as they are concerned, the show must go on. 

Since O’Keefe’s departure in late February, the company has continued to break stories with undercover cameras. Earlier this month, they published footage of a Reverend from the Loomis Basin Congregational of the United Church of Christ, Casey Martinez-Tinnin, admitting he often discusses matters of sex and gender with young people without their parent’s knowledge. 

In another video, the group caught a middle school teacher boasting about using her position to groom children as young as two or three into an LGBT lifestyle. Perhaps their biggest scoop involved catching a New York school district leader, David Casamento, discussing his efforts to “covertly” push a left-wing agenda on students. He has since been reassigned.

Even though Project Veritas appears to still be making an impact, former employees and operatives remain skeptical as to whether it can succeed without O’Keefe. The most pressing challenge will be to raise money, something they have already admitted is in short supply. 

Ryan Girdursky, a former administrative assistant at Project Veritas who now runs the 1776 Project, told RedState:

“Project Veritas only exists because of James. He was the one with the ideas, the creativity, and the face of the company. Without him, I don’t think they exist. It would be like having a White Stripes concert without Jack White.”

Anna Khait, a former professional poker player and ex-Project Veritas operative, shared Girdursky’s pessimism, although still holds out hope that O’Keefe may one day return. “It’s tough because I’m friends with James and I have friends in the organization,” she told RedState. “I understand they have some disagreements, but it’s my prayer for all of them to come to the table and reconcile.”

“It takes humility to recognize you’ve made a mistake,” she continued. “It’s time to put egos aside and ask each other for forgiveness. James is the founder and heartbeat of Project Veritas. The organization, in my honest opinion, can not go on without him. It will stagnate, which is a win for our enemies and a huge loss for our country.”

The story of James O’Keefe’s departure from Project Veritas was ultimately one of internal disputes, conflicting egos, and personal vendettas. This is not unusual. However, these differences are of little importance to the group’s millions of supporters, the majority of whom are only interested in what they do best; investigative journalism.

The future for Project Veritas remains uncertain. If it is to survive, it must earn back the trust of its supporters and donors. People have short memories, and another bombshell scoop such as the recent Pfizer investigation would inevitably help put it back on that path.

In an ideal world, both O’Keefe and Project Veritas would set aside their differences and agree to work alongside one another with the shared objective of exposing the institutional left. In this scenario, not only would they both benefit, but America as a whole.

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