Who is Amir Ben-Yohanan? LA startup CEO accused of forcing hired TikTokers, as young as 15, to go on dates
The CEO of Clubhouse Media Group allegedly told one of the influencers to 'make sure you look nice' and 'put your makeup on'
Clubhouse Media Group (CMG) CEO Amir Ben-Yohanan has been accused of mistreating TikTok influencers as young as 15, while they stayed at his company's mansions in Los Angeles. Multiple girls have accused Yohanan of making misogynistic comments, and forcing them into dates while they stayed at CMG's 'content mansions'.
CMG was founded by Yohanan in early 2020. It rents out massive content mansions to influencers for free, in exchange for branded content. Right now, the accusations stem from influencers who stayed at the $42,000-a-month Beverly Hills property, dubbed CMG BH, and the now-closed LA property. CMG also owns properties in Las Vegas and Europe.
A total of 19 former and current staff of CMG have alleged Yohanan of mistreating them. This is the story of Amir Ben-Yohanan, and how he allegedly ended up leveraging his position to mistreat his influencers.
Who is Amir Ben-Yohanan?
Despite being the CEO of a company that relies on social media, Yohanan doesn't seem to be social media savvy. We couldn't find a Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram profile in his name. The irony is, despite running a company that thrives on the visual, there's really no visuals of him. A brief bio on the Wall Street Journal says Yohanan graduated from the University of Sydney, and was formerly a Senior Director of Finance at AT&T.
An article on The Real Deal says Yohanan was a real estate developer, who founded West of Hudson Properties. The property management firm is based in Hackensack, New Jersey, and was founded in 2012. Interestingly, Yohanan is still listed as the CEO and owner of the company on its website. At some point between 2012 and 2019, Yohanan acquired Tongji Healthcare Group, an LA-based entity founded by a Chinese hospital. Tongji then acquired West of Hudson in 2020, and rebranded the company as Clubhouse Media Group.
Even before the rebranding, West of Hudson was known for running 'party houses' for influencers in LA and Beverly Hills. Since the rebranding, CMG has acquired nine properties and shut three. In February, the company's value briefly skyrocketed to $2.5 billion as investors believed they were buying shares of the Clubhouse chat app. It then plunged to $742 million and CMG admitted in an April that there is 'substantial doubt about its ability to continue.'
Beyond that, there's little we know about Yohanan. He's largely stayed out of the limelight, until the recent accusations.
Girls allege mistreatment, go public
Yohanan has been accused by 19 CMG members of various forms of mistreatment, ranging from forced dates to misogynistic comments. They first spoke to Business Insider, who detailed the challenges the influencers faced when living at CMG's properties. One girl in her 20s accused Yohanan of "texting me and he said he had this guy that was going to be my boyfriend". According to her, Yohanan told her to "make sure you look nice" and "make sure you put your makeup on".
Reportedly, Yohanan attempted to set up seven members on dates, to get better content. In February, Sabrina Quesada, a 19-year-old alleged Yohanan brushed off concerns that they were being overworked by telling them they must be on their period. She made those allegations in a YouTube video, and said it was "like manipulating teenage girls." Another was allegedly told she was "not stable enough" to work, since she spent considerable time with her boyfriend.
To make matters worse, CMG and Yohanan have also hit out at former members who have spoken out. In March, CMG filed two defamation lawsuits against former members, saying they made "false and defamatory statements" about the company and its management. And so far, it hasn't really acted on the allegations. CMG told Insider, "it has been through our challenges that we aim to grow, learn, and course-correct for the good of our team of creators, our employees, and the industry as a whole."