Ex-Project Veritas Staffer Claims James O’Keefe’s Party Guests Pooped on the Floor

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Ex-Project Veritas Staffer Claims James O’Keefe’s Party Guests Pooped on the Floor

As an administrative assistant for the conservative undercover group Project Veritas, Antoinetta Zappier had some unusual responsibilities. She claims she would be woken up in the middle of the night because Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe had lost his apartment keys, or asked to fake O’Keefe’s signature onto thousands of copies of his book, after donors had paid $200 each to receive “signed” copies.

And then, there was the time, Zappier says, she had to buy supplies to clean up a boat after partygoers at an event hosted by O’Keefe relieved themselves on the floor.

In a lawsuit filed Sunday, Zappier alleges that her duties for Project Veritas extended to a particularly debauched boat party for Young Republicans. After buying hundreds of dollars worth of alcohol for the party, Zappier alleges, she was left frantically purchasing cleaning supplies when attendees “defecated on the floor.”

The boat-excrement scene is just one incident alleged in a federal lawsuit Zappier filed Sunday against Project Veritas. The allegations—which also include an abortion, a near-fatal drug overdose, pornography, and secret sexual recordings—portray a conservative group running out of control under O’Keefe’s leadership.

“It’s like Animal House,” said Zappier’s attorney, Arthur Z. Schwartz.

Zappier was fired from Project Veritas in March 2022. In her lawsuit, she claims she was fired after rejecting the sexual advances of Project Veritas’ field director, Michael Spadone, who she claims also sexually assaulted her.

“Project Veritas encouraged a culture of employees sleeping with each other, and constantly drinking, using drugs, and partying together,” the lawsuit, which was first reported by The New York Times, alleges.

The Daily Beast sent Project Veritas a list of Zappier’s allegations. Instead of addressing them individually, the group replied with a mass email sent to Project Veritas’ supporters that claimed Zappier was fired for “unprofessional and inappropriate behavior in the workplace,” citing a year-old voicemail recording in which Zappier spoke dismissively to an aspiring tipster.

Project Veritas has filed its own lawsuit against Zappier. And in an attempt to discredit Zappier’s complaint, Project Veritas’ statement also pointed to the fact that Schwartz once worked as a lawyer for Acorn, the progressive community organizing group O’Keefe’s undercover videos once helped destroy.

“Schwartz is attempting to leverage Zappier’s claims to hurt Project Veritas,” the email claimed.

Complicating the fallout over Zappier’s firing, Zappier’s husband once threatened a Project Veritas staffer with a gun, according to the lawsuit, after the staffer insisted on taking a shower at the Zappiers’ home. While Zappier named a number of Project Veritas employees as witnesses or perpetrators to incidents mentioned in the lawsuit, The Daily Beast was unable to independently confirm her allegations.

The alleged hostile work environment for women at Project Veritas went beyond Zappier, according to the lawsuit. The complaint describes a workplace rife with alcohol and drug use and sexual relationships, including one man described as a “superior” engaging in daytime drinking and “sexual activity in the office.”

All of those alleged relationships could have consequences. When a Project Veritas fundraiser impregnated a woman described in the lawsuit as a “subordinate,” he “paid for her abortion.” After O’Keefe was told about the abortion, according to Zappier, the employee remained in his position.

O’Keefe perpetuated that sexual treatment of women at Project Veritas, according to the lawsuit. In the court filing, Zappier claims O’Keefe required Project Veritas’ undercover operatives to familiarize themselves with both the book and movie versions of Red Sparrow, a story about female Russian spies using seduction to gather intelligence.

O’Keefe allegedly described good-looking Project Veritas female agents as “Pretty Young Things,” or “PYTs,” and asked his employees to flag private social media messages from women so he could “respond to them personally.” The complaint also alleges that O’Keefe disparaged individual women’s bodies, describing one woman as “a train” and nicknaming another “Belle” because she was “shaped like the Liberty Bell.”

In one of the lawsuit’s more startling allegations, Zappier claims O’Keefe secretly recorded phone calls with his then-girlfriend, another conservative media personality. Zappier alleges that O’Keefe shared the recordings with other Project Veritas employees, even though the audio files featured O’Keefe and the woman discussing their “sexual activities.”

Zappier also alleges that pornography appeared in the Project Veritas office, albeit sometimes accidentally. The lawsuit claims O’Keefe once inadvertently played a pornographic video in front of roughly 75 staffers during a presentation. Zappier also saw pornography on O’Keefe’s computer in another incident, when she entered his office to put something on his desk, according to the complaint.

Porn at Project Veritas was a point of dispute between the parties even before the lawsuit was filed. In a May email to a Project Veritas lawyer later released by the group, Schwartz—Zappier’s attorney—wrote that he has “witnesses to James O’Keefe watching porn in his office with the door open.”

In Zappier’s telling, the unusual activities at Project Veritas weren’t limited to its office in Mamaroneck, N.Y. She claims the group—registered as a tax-exempt, 501(c)3 nonprofit with the IRS—rented a corporate apartment that became a “frat house” for “drinking, sex, marijuana, and parties,” with O’Keefe sometimes appearing there himself. Zappier alleges that one of the group’s undercover operatives “nearly died of a drug overdose” at the apartment, prompting his boss to question other Project Veritas employees who witnessed the drug use.

Attempts to rein in Project Veritas’ culture were quickly quashed, according to the lawsuit. When a female attorney started to document potential human resources violations, including workday drinking and “a superior having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a much younger subordinate,” O’Keefe allegedly accused her of spying on staffers.

According to Zappier, O’Keefe worried that news of the lawyer’s inquiry would reach the media. The lawyer was fired, the lawsuit claims.

“Humans gonna be human,” O’Keefe replied when confronted with the issues documented by the lawyer, according to Zappier’s lawsuit.

Zappier’s attorney, Schwartz, predicted that the allegations about the inner workings of Project Veritas were just starting to come out, saying Zappier’s lawsuit could have a “snowball effect.” Schwartz has also filed a potential class-action lawsuit against Project Veritas over wages.

“This was a highly, highly trusted person,” Schwartz said of Zappier.

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