Failed media company Ozy's star write, Eugene Robinson dishes the details of what it was like working there
Eugene Robinson was OZY’s star writer publishing everything from a no-holds-barred sex column to intimate accounts of his life as an aging MMA fighter. But his relationship with founder Carlos Watson shows just why Ozy was destined to fail. Read on:
“And in regards to your little music thing…” It was both a dressing down, very possibly Dressing Down #37, and a pep talk. Or it was intended to be. “…If it was going to happen for you it would have already happened.”
Then silence and a look that was supposed to convey a Moses-like rendering of what was intended to be an incontrovertible truth. In this instance about the prospects of my band OXBOW as a vehicle for? Whatever he, Carlos Watson, believed to be professional success. That’s what the “it” was about. I guess.
“So I’m just asking you to give me, what? A year of your undivided attention, I want you all in.”
“I’m working 18 hour days, man. I don’t know if I could be more in.” I had started at OZY in September of 2012. I worked seven days a week, 12 to 14 articles a week, right up until I had to take a few days off to play some shows with OXBOW. Something I had emailed about needing to do before I had started. As a contractor.
“I can see you’re not committed to this.” His hand was pounding the table in front of him. He pushed back and regarded me. “So we’re done.” It was the end of October 2012 and I had been fired.
A few days before Thanksgiving 2012 I got a call from him. The chat was convivial. I had been warned/notified by board member Louise Rogers that he would be calling.
“After the holidays let’s talk. Again.” I was rehired immediately after the holidays and so began a pattern of slaps and kisses that most grown adults only have to deal with when explaining to a judge that they need an order of protection.
“I don’t believe there are many that love and respect you more than I do.” — Carlos Watson
And like someone needing an order of protection, someone deep in the tangle of the weirdest abusive relationship in the world, a certain kind of machismo kicked in. A masochistic machismo, and to paraphrase Henry Rollins, I would not take nor would I break.
Or like Alex said in A Clockwork Orange, I was fully mindful of the fact that this was just “the real weepy and like tragic part” of my story. A weepy and tragic portion against which I raged for nine years. To put a frame around it that would shock anyone familiar with almost anything I’ve ever done, from the FIGHT book to the long road to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt, he talked to me like no other man on the face of the planet without a gun in his hand would ever talk to me.
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