On Wednesday, the executive director of Project Veritas issued a statement following reports that founder James O’Keefe was placed on paid leave, sparking some donors to issue a cease-and-desist letter.
Director Daniel Strack issued a statement via Project Veritas’s Twitter account, stating that O’Keefe had not been removed from his position, and any claim that O’Keefe, who founded Project Veritas over a decade again, had been removed from the nonprofit was false.
“A few weeks ago, a number of our staff members provided leadership with some verbal feedback describing real management concerns regarding the treatment of people and our internal process,” his statement said.
“This prompted the board to solicit feedback from additional staff members, and that internal letter was leaked. The narrative that is being portrayed by referencing this letter is patently false. James has not been removed from Project Veritas. Nowhere in that letter was there ever a suggestion to remove James from the organization.”
Strack said that 16 Veritas employees gave feedback but stressed that O’Keefe “is the hardest working person I have ever met … those who know him well know that he will not take time off unless forced to.” His letter did not provide more details.
“While I do understand the timing of this situation alongside the biggest story in our organization’s history is confusing and very easy to come up with conspiracy theories, I can assure you we are still, in no way, and will never be, ‘Brought to you by Pfizer,’” he wrote in reference to a recent expose involving a Pfizer executive. “Nor do we have any political preferences for any candidates running for office.”
Strack said that he is “committed to working” with “James and the PV team,” according to the letter. “James will be taking a few weeks of well-deserved [paid time off],” Strack allegedly wrote Monday in an internal message that the Daily Beast said it obtained.
Later in the day, Project Veritas wrote that O’Keefe is “alive and well” and that “there is nothing better than enjoying a well deserved vacation.” Attached was a photo of a post made by Robert Kennedy Jr., who posted a photo of himself and O’Keefe.
The past week has been filled with speculation about O’Keefe’s future with the organization, following reports from the left-wing Daily Beast and other outlets, citing an internal memo from staffers that claimed he exhibited “outright cruel” behavior to staffers. Neither Project Veritas nor O’Keefe have publicly responded to those claims.
When The Epoch Times reached out for comment Wednesday, O’Keefe’s Project Veritas email account appeared to send an automated response: “I am out of the office on leave and will be returning to the office on February 20th. I will have very limited access to email during this time and will respond as promptly as possible upon my return.”
Last month, Project Veritas released bombshell footage of Pfizer employee Dr. Jordon Walker, a director of research and development at Pfizer, claiming that the pharmaceutical giant is looking into mutating COVID-19 in order to develop new vaccines. Walker made the bombastic claims to an undercover Project Veritas employee.
“One of the things we’re exploring is like, why don’t we just mutate it ourselves so we could create — preemptively develop new vaccines, right?” Walker said in a clip. “If we’re going to do that though, there’s a risk of like, as you could imagine — no one wants to be having a pharma company mutating [expletive] viruses,” Walker added.
Pfizer on Jan. 28 issued a response to comments from Walker, saying: “In the ongoing development of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer has not conducted gain of function or directed evolution research.”
“This work is undertaken once a new variant of concern has been identified by public health authorities. This research provides a way for us to rapidly assess the ability of an existing vaccine to induce antibodies that neutralize a newly identified variant of concern. We then make this data available through peer reviewed scientific journals and use it as one of the steps to determine whether a vaccine update is required,” the company also said, adding that it has conducted experiments in a Level 3 laboratory.
After the video was released, O’Keefe disappeared from the public eye, and there was online speculation that he was ousted from the group due to pressure from the pharmaceutical giant. On the organization’s Twitter page and YouTube comments sections for its videos, many users wondered where O’Keefe was and threatened to boycott the group if he doesn’t return soon.
Some prominent users questioned Strack’s letter following its release, such as Daniel Bostic who wrote, “Yet this damage control letter sounds like it was written by Pfizer,” while another, conservative pundit Mike Cernovich, added, “How many people did it take to produce this gibberish?”
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