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Carlos Watson Has a Cold

Carlos Watson
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
December 2, 2021

On Wednesday, November 10, Carlos Watson, the embattled founder and C.E.O. of Ozy Media, told me that he was flying from his home in Mountain View, California, down to Los Angeles, where I was staying, to see me. Carlos wanted to have lunch at the house I had been renting for a few weeks in the Hollywood Hills, and to discuss his current predicament, which can best be described as a near-constant state of chaos ever since Ben Smith, the well-respected and intrepid New York Times media columnist, dropped a bombshell report about the company in late September. The only ground rules for the on-the-record conversation related to the kind of sandwich that I was buying him for lunch from Joan’s on Third, L.A.’s version of Dean & Deluca—a highly curated, overpriced boulangerie. “No roast beef,” Watson texted after I presented him with Joan’s lunch menu. “Turkey club.” And then in all caps, “NO MAYO.”