Under intense grilling by Ezra Levant, “Rebel Commander” at The Rebel in a conference on “media freedom” hosted by media billionaire Pierre Omidyar, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa inadvertently admitted that she had received $4.5 million in funding from Omidyar.
Interestingly, Levant’s question was initially directed to Nishant Lalwani, Director of Investments of the Omidyar Group challenging the sense of his hosting such a conference when, Levant points out, “no one here is not on your payroll”.
Lalwani then categorically stated, “we gave some money to Rappler…” after which he was abruptly cut off by Ressa who then proceeded to hijack the rest of the response to Levant’s initial query.
Watch the video…
Indeed, Ressa is behaving badly here. She is discussing an ongoing case she has with the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a public forum. To Ressa’s claim that she is “winning” this case, Levant points out that “Omidyar gave up his stock,” suggesting that Omidyar had, perhaps, recognised then the risk in his exposure to Rappler.
At some point, Ressa was forced to point out that the amount involved was “only” $4.5 million.
After a few more minutes of Ressa carrying on in her usual shrill manner, Levant finally reminded her that the question was not originally addressed to her — perhaps recognising the disproportionate defensiveness she had just exhibited.
Suffice to say, Ressa made a fool of herself right there and, at the same time, shot herself in the foot.