Newsweek Turmoil Continues As News Director Cristina Silva Exits

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced indictments against a Christian University that is tied to the former parent company of Newsweek on Thursday.

The indictments are the latest to be handed down in the ongoing investigation against the university, Christian Media Corporation and Newsweek’s former parent company, IBT Media.

Olivet University, as well as several of its top officials, were accused of “obtaining at least $25 million in financing under Olivet’s name, and laundering the money in order to obscure its origins and fund Olivet’s operations.”

Olivet has vehemently denied the accusations, a spokesperson for the University told TheWrap (see statement below).

Also Read: Newsweek Turmoil Continues as News Director Cristina Silva Exits

The indictments come about a month after the same office charged Newsweek’s former parent company, IBT Media, and several of its top officials with fraud, accusing them of inventing financial statements in order to secure millions in loans.

“Today’s indictment supersedes – and includes – the charges announced last month,” Vance said in the announcement.

Reps for Newsweek did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.

Attorney Marc Agnifilo, on behalf of IBT Media and Etienne Uzac, told TheWrap in a statement: “The individual and corporate defendants borrowed money, as every business does, and paid the money back, as every business should. Why then are these Christian institutions, their officers and corporate partners subjects in a sweeping indictment?”

IBT Media purchased Newsweek in 2013.

Also Read: Former Newsweek Owner Accused of Fraud in Manhattan Indictment

“We believe in the Newsweek brand and look forward to growing it, fully transformed to the digital age,” Etienne Uzac, co-founder and CEO of IBT Media told USA Today at the time of the sale. “We respect the brand’s long history of delivering high-quality, impactful journalism and believe this aligns well with IBT Media’s culture and mission.”

However, the company’s leadership, including Uzac, were chummy with Olivet University and became intertwined in opaque financial transactions. In one instance reported by Newsweek, Olivet was able to grant a local government in upstate New York free advertising at the publication in exchange for tax breaks and construction permits. The company fired editor Bob Roe, executive editor Ken Li and senior politics reporter Celeste Katz over the piece, which the story revealed in a lengthy editor’s note.

In January, the company’s New York headquarters were raided and authorizes seized several computers as part of their investigation.

Uzac was among those targeted by Vance, and is now facing felony charges of money laundering, fraud, conspiracy and falsifying business records. He resigned as chairman of Newsweek group in February.

Olivet University denied the charges brought by the DA’s office in a statement shared with TheWrap on Thursday. University spokesperson Ronn Torossian said Olivet will “vigorously defend itself against these unsupported allegations — including the puzzling claim that lenders that have been fully repaid with interest were somehow victimized. Olivet stands strongly by the individual members of its team who have been wrongfully accused. Olivet is a Christian institution dedicated to providing educational and spiritual opportunities to students around the globe — including in locations that are hostile to Christianity and Christian practice.”

All 73 Famous People Sacha Baron Cohen Has 'Duped,' From Donald Trump to OJ Simpson (Photos)

  • duped by sacha baron cohen

    Since the announcement of Sacha Baron Cohen's new Showtime series, "Who Is America?" several politicians, including Sarah Palin and Joe Walsh, have said that they were tricked into talking on-camera with the actor's many aliases. They aren't alone, as many other public figures have been deceived by Baron Cohen into appearing in (sometimes unflattering, but always uncomfortable) onscreen moments.

  • donald trump ali g sacha baron cohen interview

    1. Donald Trump  In 2003, when Trump was still an entrepreneur and not yet in the White House, Baron Cohen, posing as British rapper Ali G, approached him with an interesting business proposal: gloves that keep your hands warm while eating ice cream. Trump later claimed that he was the only person to have "immediately" walked out of an Ali G interview.

  • newt gingrich wikileaks julian assange flip trump

    2. Newt Gingrich  Amid talks of welfare reform and the possibility of a female president, the most entertaining moment of Ali G's interview with former speaker of the House was Ali G repeatedly asking Gingrich how to pronounce his name.

  • 3. Pat Buchanan  Conservative political commentator Pat Buchanan seemed to go along with Baron Cohen’s ruse as his character mixes up WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) with BLTs when talking about Iraq.

  • christine whitman ali g

    4. Christine Todd Whitman  Whitman, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency and governor of New Jersey, endured questions from Ali G about the size and ecological consequences of whale feces.

  • WASHINGTON - JULY 08: Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III answer questions during a news conference releasing the findings of the National War Powers Commission on Capitol Hill on July 8, 2008 in Washington, DC. The bipartisan commission, which the Baker chaired with fellow former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, recommended repeal of the War Powers Act and closer consultation between the White House and Congress in initiating combat. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

    5. James Baker  Ali G probed the former secretary of state about the danger of Iraq and Iran having such similar names. “Ain’t there a real danger, that someone give like a message over the radio to one of them fighter pilots, where one of them says ‘Bomb Iraq,’ and the geezer don’t hear it properly and bombs Iran instead of Iraq?” he asked, to which Baker responded, "No danger."

    Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images
  • neil hamilton ali g

    6. Neil Hamilton  “Totally disgraced” member of parliament Neil Hamilton shared what appeared to be a joint with Ali G onstage. This was met with the character's approval.

    Channel 4
  • Ralph Nader on "Real Time with Bill Maher"

    7. Ralph Nader  The former Green Party presidential candidate engaged in a discussion with Ali G about the dangers of living in the jungle and how to rig electricity meters.

  • LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Gail Porter attends the "Cirque Du Soleil: Quidam" opening night at the Royal Albert Hall on January 7, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

    8. Gail Porter  Ali G serenaded television star Gail Porter with “Every Breath You Take” by The Police while holding her hand in an extended, uncomfortable moment.

    Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images
  • Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez participate in the Department of Justice’s commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Action July 23, 2010 in Washington, DC.

    9. Dick Thornburgh  The former attorney general was asked by Ali G just “how hung” the members of a hung jury are.

    Getty Images
  • Boutros Boutros-Ghali

    10. Boutros Boutros-Ghali  “I am Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Put down your gun and listen to Bob Marley,” said the late former UN secretary general as he closed out the interview.

  • WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, January 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from former cabinet officials regarding global challenges and United States national security strategy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    11. Brent Scowcroft  The former U.S. national security advisor corrected Ali G when he asked if they caught the people who sent Tampax through the mail. “It was anthrax,” Scowcroft answered.

    Mark Wilson/Getty Images
  • james lipton ali g

    12. James Lipton  Lipton, the host of “Inside the Actors Studio,” carefully rebuked Ali G’s use of the word “hoe” during his interview. ”I don’t use words like ‘hoes’ and I hate them,” Lipton said after a long pause.

  • Buzz Aldrin

    13. Buzz Aldrin  “Do you think man will ever walk on the sun?” asked Ali G in his interview with the astronaut.

    Cooper Neill/Getty Images
  • sam donaldson

    14. Sam Donaldson  The interview with the “boss man of ABC news,” Sam Donaldson, seemed to start out innocently, with Ali G inquiring about how the media affects politics. However, the conversation quickly took a turn as the rapper conflated Watergate, the film “Waterworld,” and the television series “Stargate.”

  • LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Three time Grammy winner artist Porter Wagoner arrives at "The Soul of Country" the 9th Annual Grammy Foundation Music Preservation Project held at the Wilshire Ebell Theater on February 8, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Getty Images)

    15. Porter Wagoner  Baron Cohen’s Kazakh character, Borat, asked the country singer for help in writing a country song about his sister, “the number two or three prostitute in the country of Kazakhstan.” She is referenced again in his later film, "Borat."

    Ryan Miller/Getty Images
  • HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 09: John Naber, four-time USA Swimming Olympic Gold Medalist, attends a viewing party of the Olympic Opening Ceremony hosted by the filmmakers of "Icarus" at the Hollywood Athletic Club on February 9, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Netflix)

    16. John Naber  Olympic medalist John Naber indulged Ali G by rapping along to his beatboxing.

    Rich Fury/Getty Images
  • Gore Vidal

    17. Gore Vidal  Late historian and author Gore Vidal remained polite when Ali G confused him with hairstylist Vidal Sassoon.

    Charley Gallay/Getty Images
  • 18-29. NBA Players (Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Ben Wallace, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, Robert Horry, Richard Jefferson, Dwayne Wade, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr)  Highlights from this interview montage included when Ali G asked Kobe Bryant if the weather really is different “up there” and Shaquille O’Neal gently patting Ali on the knee while he explained to him what “NBA” stands for.

    Getty Images
  • noam chomsky

    30. Noam Chomsky  Ali G confused Chomsky when he asked if bilingual people were attracted to both men and women, referring instead to bisexuality.

    William B. Plowman/Getty Images
  • Andy Rooney confused for Mickey Rooney

    31. Andy Rooney  The “60 Minutes” pundit schooled Ali G in grammar during their interview, grumpily correcting “does you think” to “do you think” and “racialism” to “racism,” and refused to let a single error go.

  • edwin meese

    32. Edwin Meese  Like many other Ali G guests, former Attorney General Edwin Meese ended his interview with a rap: “I was attorney general, my name is Meese. I say go to college, don’t carry a piece.”

  • WASHINGTON - APRIL 13: Former FBI Acting Director Thomas Pickard testifies during the 10th public hearing on the performance of law enforcement and the intelligence community prior to September 11 attacks before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States on Capitol Hill April 13, 2004 in Washington, DC. Pickard testified on his efforsts on combating terrorism before 9/11. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    33. Thomas J. Pickard  Former acting  FBI Director Thomas J. Pickard was roped into a discussion about Area 51, which included Ali G singing “The X-Files” theme song and talking about being probed by aliens.

    Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • marlin fitzwater

    34. Marlin Fitzwater  In a cringe-worthy moment, Ali G asked the former White House press secretary if being a secretary is embarrassing, and compared it to being a male nurse.

    Getty Images
  • kent hovind

    35. Kent Hovind  Ali G countered Young Earth spokesperson Kent Hovind’s argument for creationism by asking him if he ate bananas, to which he said yes. Ali used his response to prove that humans are related to monkeys, smugly (kind of) debunking his argument.

  • sally jessy raphael

    36. Sally Jessy Raphael  In the episode that featured Sally Jessy Raphael, Ali G crashed the talk show host’s live taping of her television program, “Sally,” and riled up the audience before she entered.

    Jim Lord/Getty Images
  • naomi wolf

    37. Naomi Wolf  Any conversation involving Ali G and feminism is bound to be bad news. Author Naomi Wolf grew noticeably frustrated with the character’s misogynistic ways -- “Gee, I’m speechless,” she said after Ali explained at length how he uses the word “bitch” as an endearing term for his girlfriend.

  • c everett koop

    38. Dr. C. Everett Koop  Former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop was forced to explain to Ali G that the “dong bone” is in fact, not a bone.

    Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Stansfield Turner

    39. Stansfield Turner  In this interview, Ali G spoke with former CIA Director Stansfield Turner in a library and wore a jersey emblazoned with the words “Big Willie” on the front. He inquired about conspiracy theories and whether or not we can truly be sure “Louis Armstrong” landed on the moon.

    Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images
  • David Beckham Victoria Beckham

    40-41. David and Victoria Beckham  Although Ali G’s interview with the Beckhams was done for Comic Relief, it was just as uncomfortable as usual. “How many of the Spice Girls turned you down before you went for Posh?” he asked the soccer star, who was red in the face and nearly unable to respond.

    Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images
  • chip pickering

    42-43. Chip Pickering and James W. Smith Jr.  Former Mississippi Rep. Chip Pickering and former Mississippi Supreme Court Judge James W. Smith Jr. made a brief cameo in “Borat,” as the former addressed the congregation at his Pentecostal church, where he espoused his views against the theory of evolution.

  • alan keyes

    44. Alan Keyes  It took the anti-Semitic Borat to hand Keyes a “rib of a Jew” for the conservative activist and pundit to rip off his mic and storm out of the interview.

    Sovereign Nations
  • bob barr

    45. Bob Barr  Who could ever forget Rep. Bob Barr’s uncomfortable swallow when Borat gave him a gift of cheese made from his wife’s breast milk.

    20th Century Fox
  • Ron Paul

    46. Ron Paul  The former Texas representative and presidential candidate is tricked into a hotel room “interview” with Baron Cohen’s fashionable Austrian character, Bruno, who promptly put on music and disrobes, to reveal a tight pair of shiny, purple briefs.

    Mark Wilson/Getty Images
  • paula abdul

    47. Paula Abdul The singer clearly had no idea what she was getting into. Her interview with Bruno involved talking about her humanitarian work while sitting on “human chairs” -- “gardeners” crouched on all fours. She left before having the chance to eat sushi off of a nude man.

    Universal Pictures
  • ryan seacrest sacha baron cohen

    48. Ryan Seacrest  Though more of a stunt than an act of trickery, Baron Cohen attended the 2012 Oscars red carpet in his character from “The Dictator,” Gen. Aladeen. He “accidentally” spilled the supposed ashes of Kim Jong Il on Seacrest during a short interview, before being led away by security 

    E! Entertainment
  • Sarah Palin sacha baron cohen who is america

    49. Sarah Palin  The former governor of Alaska was one of the first notable figures to admit to being fooled by Baron Cohen on "Who Is America?" She ripped the actor, who posed as “wounded veteran” Billy Wayne Ruddick, Jr., Ph.D., calling his humor “evil, exploitative, sick.” Showtime later released a statement that refuted her claim that Baron Cohen pretended to be a wounded veteran, and that his character used a mobility scooter to “conserve his energy.”

    Getty Images
  • Joe Walsh What Is America

    50. Joe Walsh  The former congressman and media personality corroborated Palin’s claims and stated that Baron Cohen had duped him by inviting him to “pro-Israel dinner” and filmed an interview with him for Israel’s 70th birthday celebration.

  • dick cheney

    51. Dick Cheney  In a clip promoting "Who is America?" former Vice President Dick Cheney is seen signing a “waterboarding kit,” which was a plastic jug of water. “That’s the first time I’ve ever signed a waterboard,” he said.

  • Ted Koppel

    52. Ted Koppel  The former “Nightline” anchor told The Hollywood Reporter how he had been duped by Baron Cohen’s wheelchair-bound character. Koppel said he was asked about the size of President Trump’s inauguration crowd, which Baron Cohen’s character tried to convince him was larger than it really was.

    Kirk Irwin/Getty Images
  • Roy Moore

    53. Roy Moore  Moore, a former Alabama judge and U.S. Senate candidate, released a statement saying he was invited by Cohen to a 70th birthday celebration for Israel. “I don’t need Sacha Cohen to tell me who America is, but I can tell him that America is a proud nation which sprang from humble beginnings and a strong belief in God, virtue and morality," he wrote. In his episode, Moore, who has previously been accused by a woman for initiating sexual encounters with her when she was 14, gets a "pedophile detector" wand waved over him by Baron Cohen. And yes, it does beep.

    Getty Images
  • austin rhodes radio

    54. Austin Rhodes  The conservative radio host gave his account of his interview with gender and women’s studies professor “Dr. Nira Cain,” another one of Baron Cohen’s “Who is America?” characters. During the 90-minute on-air interview, “40 or 50” listeners sent in emails voicing their speculation, before Baron Cohen left suddenly with a bout of “gastrointestinal meltdown.” Rhodes said that he had seen Baron Cohen’s movie, “Borat,” around 20 times and was surprised that he didn’t recognize him.

    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
  • Joe Arpaio

    55. Joe Arpaio  The former Arizona sheriff who dubbed himself ''America's toughest sheriff,'' said he was interviewed by Baron Cohen, who was posing as a “famous Finnish comedian.” Baron Cohen used illicit phrases Arpaio said he was uncomfortable with, the sheriff told Breitbart. In the actual episode, Baron Cohen's YouTuber character, OMGWhizzBoyOMG, asked Arpaio, "If Donald Trump calls you up after this and says, 'Sheriff Joe, I want to offer you an amazing b--- job,' would you say yes?" Arpaio replied affirmatively with, "I may have to say yes."

    Getty Images
  • Matt Gaetz

    56. Matt Gaetz  Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz told The Daily Beast that he was also invited to be interviewed at Israel’s 70th birthday celebration for “Who is America?” but that he was a big fan of Baron Cohen’s previous work and that he “can’t wait to see it.”

    Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • philip van cleave who is america

    57-61. Philip Van Cleave, Trent Lott, Larry Pratt, Dana Rohrabacher, Joe Wilson.  Gun rights advocate Philip Van Cleave led this commercial, with endorsements from other politicians and representatives. In it, Van Cleave and Baron Cohen, who posed as Israeli anti-terror expert Col. Erran Morad, teach kids how to use guns using the "kid-friendly" "Puppy Pistol."

  • bernie sanders who is america

    62. Bernie Sanders  The Vermont Senator's interview with Billy Wayne Ruddick, Jr., Ph.D. was featured in the first episode of “Who is America?” Sanders was unamused as Baron Cohen’s character badgers him with questions about Obamacare and the mathematical possibility of moving everyone into the one percent.

  • Corinne Olympios

    63. Corinne Olympios  The former "Bachelor" contestant was urged by Baron Cohen's Italian photographer character, Gio Monaldo, to put on a Hazmat suit and endorse his cause to arm child soldiers in Africa. She did it. 

    Getty Images
  • Sacha Baron Cohen and Rep. Jason Spencer on 'Who Is America?'

    64. Jason Spencer  Baron Cohen, disguised as an ex-Israeli intelligence agent, convinced the Georgia state representative that pulling his pants down while shouting racial slurs would be an effective defense mechanism against an ISIS attack. Spencer later apologized for his actions on the show.

  • who is america bone crusher chip limehouse


    Chip Limehouse and Bone Crusher  In a dual interview, Baron Cohen's uber-liberal character Dr. Nira Cain (wearing an NPR shirt) corrects Atlanta rapper Bone Crusher when he identifies as "black," Cain saying he prefers the "afro-marginalized." When former South Carolina Rep. Chip Limehouse pats the rapper on the shoulder in solidarity, Baron Cohen rebukes him and asks Bone Crusher if he's OK. 

  • who is america ness lee

    67. Ness Lee  Dr. Nira Cain (Baron Cohen) appears again at the end of the episode, spouting less-than-compelling insults at battle rapper Ness Lee. Lee seems underwhelmed with his unworthy foe until Cain raps "You talk in bragging terms about the size of your phallus / I believe the inverse is true / I, myself, am ashamed that I have a larger phallus than you."

  • shaun mccutcheon

    68. Shaun McCutcheon  Alabama conservative Shaun McCutcheon rose to fame when he took his lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission to the Supreme Court, arguing against a cap on party contributions. Baron Cohen's character introduces him to some effective shields against "Muslim terrorists," which include pork and and an image of gay pornography. "Soowee! Here comes pork. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!" McCutcheon shouts as he brandishes a large ham and a toy gun.

  • who is america sacha baron cohen corey lewandowski donald trump

    69. Corey Lewandowski  The former Trump campaign manager, notorious for his "Womp womp" comment referring to a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome being separated from her mother, remained guarded while being questioned by Baron Cohen's journalist character, Dr. Billy Wayne Ruddick. Ruddick asked Lewandowski about the "fake news" media and whether he was familiar with the "Rastafarian lobby," the "biggest force in politics" led by Gen. Robert Marley and his 45,000 Buffalo soldiers. "I’ve never seen that before,” said Lewandowski.

  • Inside Jill Stein's Election Recount: 7 Things to Know From the Reporter Who Broke the Story

    70. Jill Stein  Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr. made another appearance, this time to argue with 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein about climate change, or in his words, "climax change." He pulled out a chart -- which has quickly become the character's favorite prop -- showing the cyclical changes in temperature, but it only spans one year. Stein tried to explain that the temperature changes shown are seasonal, but Baron Cohen's character quickly moved on.

  • sacha baron cohen who is america howard dean jill stein

    71. Howard Dean  Baron Cohen's character got straight to the point in his interview with 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. He asked Dean if he thought Hillary Clinton was really a man, showing him a Photoshopped image of a bulge on the inside of Clinton's trousers.

  • Jan Brewer

    72. Jan Brewer  The former Arizona Gov. appeared in a particularly short, bizarre segment with OMGWhizzBoyOMG. Brewer essentially told a doll, that Baron Cohen's character was holding and voicing, that it could purchase a machine gun, despite having the "mental age" of a 3-year-old.

  • sacha baron cohen who is america oj simpson

    73. O.J. Simpson  Baron Cohen's rich Italian character, Gio, introduces his girlfriend to infamous ex-football player Simpson in the segment, and then plots ways to kill her after she leaves the room. Simpson, who was acquitted for the murder of his ex-wife and her male friend more than 20 years ago, played along, but was careful to maintain his innocence, saying, "I didn’t do it" when Gio asked about the wife he "shot."

1 of 56

A complete list of every big name the actor has duped, trolled and hoodwinked

Since the announcement of Sacha Baron Cohen's new Showtime series, "Who Is America?" several politicians, including Sarah Palin and Joe Walsh, have said that they were tricked into talking on-camera with the actor's many aliases. They aren't alone, as many other public figures have been deceived by Baron Cohen into appearing in (sometimes unflattering, but always uncomfortable) onscreen moments.

Source :

Newsweek Turmoil Continues As News Director Cristina Silva Exits


Newsweek Turmoil Continues As News Director Cristina Silva Exits