The CEO of an influencer management company who is accused of bullying TikTok stars, forcing them to go on dates and making jibes about their periods is an ultra-private former real estate agent who ironically appears to shun all social media.
Amir Ben-Yohanan, 48, had no prior experience of the world of teen influencers before co-founding Clubhouse Media Group (CMG) in January 2020.
In fact, there is little trace of him online at all, with no known social media accounts and the only photo of him being a picture on the team page of his real estate business West of Hudson Properties.
The father-of-four admitted in a December interview he thought of TikTok as kids ‘messing around’ and ‘looked down on it.’
But, after moving to Los Angeles and seeing how ‘obsessed’ his children were with that world, he decided he wanted to cash in on what he saw as the modern-day ‘Gold Rush’ or ‘Wild West’.
It was co-founded by Ben-Yohanan in early 2020 and launched its first location that March – a huge house in Beverly Hills, dubbed Clubhouse BH, which rents for $42,000 a month – with the help of COO Simon Yu, Clubhouse President Christian Young and TikTok star Daisy Keech.
Social media stars staying in the houses range in age from around 15 to 24 with some so young that their parents accompany them on their visits.
In just over a year, the company has become a $742 million-dollar business with much of that value believed to have come from people buying up stocks they mistakenly believed were for popular new social media app Clubhouse, which sees invited users share audio files. Clubhouse and CMG have no ties.
Amir Ben-Yohanan, CEO of influencer management company Clubhouse Media Group (CMG). Despite running the ‘content mansions’ and allegedly being obsessed with his talent’s follower numbers he appears to have no online presence and this is the only known photo of him online
Ben-Yohanan is accused of bullying TikTok stars, forcing them to go on dates and making jibes about their periods is an ultra-private former real estate agent who ironically appears to shun all social media. Two influencers at CMG’s Beverly Hills mansion
But this week, the ‘content mansion’ company has been rocked by scandal as Ben-Yohanan has been accused of mistreating influencers as young as 15, screaming at them and making misogynistic comments while they stayed in the company’s lavish mansions.
A total of 19 former and current house members and staff members have now spoken out to Business Insider about their alleged treatment at the hands of start-up, with several describing a culture where Ben-Yohanan was ‘very aggressive’ about setting up dates for his young stars.
The top boss also allegedly ridiculed members for having what he deemed to be low numbers of followers and would often remined them he could ‘have you gone by tomorrow,’ one ex-members said.
‘He only cared about the numbers,’ added another.
Despite his obsession with followers and being at the helm of a business whose sole focus is social media, Ben-Yohanan himself appears to shun all social media and is rarely even pictured.
DailyMail.com could not find a Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram – let alone a TikTok – profile for the social media boss.
In an interview with The Atlantic in December he admitted he had been dismissive of the whole influencer industry just a couple of years ago.
‘Like many adults, I looked down on it. I thought they were just messing around, dancing. It didn’t seem very serious,’ he said.
But he started noticing how ‘obsessed’ his children were with the likes of Musical.ly and TikTok.
Then, when the family upped sticks and moved to LA in 2019, Ben-Yohanan said he started meeting people who had profited from the industry.
The $42,000-a-month Clubhouse BH mansion in Beverly Hills where social media stars as young as 15 stayed for free in exchange for posting content. Ben-Yohanan, 48, had no prior experience of the world of influencers before co-founding Clubhouse Media Group in 2020
‘It seemed to me like the Gold Rush, like the Wild West,’ he said.
Ben-Yohanan admitted he had no previous experience in Hollywood or the world of influencers but saw an opportunity to professionalize the content house scene that was cropping up at the time.
He told the Atlantic he saw the way the young influencers ‘were doing everything’ in these ventures.
‘They were doing everything, creating the content, engaging in brand deals, doing the marketing, doing the PR,’ he said in December.
The teen stars at his mansions have since spoken of a culture where they were overworked and their mental health concerns dismissed by the boss.
In one alleged incident, Ben-Yohanan brushed off concerns that influencers were being overworked by telling them they must be on their period.
These allegations were first aired by Sabrina Quesada, 19, in a YouTube video in February.
‘There was this one time where we all literally sitting around the table like, ‘Our mental health is so insanely bad. Like you were overworking us,’ and he replies with, ‘You guys are probably on your period,” she said in the video.
Sabrina Quesada, 19, above who has spoken out about the treatment at Clubhouse
She described her experience as ‘like manipulating teenage girls.’
A former CMG staffer confirmed the incident to Insider this week but said Ben-Yohanan had actually used the phrase ‘times of the month.’
Ben-Yohanan is also accused of telling one former Clubhouse BH member she was ‘not mentally stable enough’ to work in the house because she was always with her boyfriend.
The CEO also allegedly told female members they were ‘mentally weak’, yelled at the influencers and treated their lives like ‘a game.’
‘They were just trying to manipulate all of our roles in the house, almost as if we were playing characters instead of being ourselves,’ said one ex-member.
Ben-Yohanan’s background is actually in real estate.
He graduated from the University of Sydney and worked as a senior finance director at AT&T Corp, according to a Wall Street Journal bio.
He then founded New Jersey real estate business West of Hudson Properties.
According to the company’s website, the company was launched in 2012 with the acquisition of five multifamily properties in Jersey City before expanding its portfolio across the state.
Ben-Yohanan is still listed as the CEO and founder of the company.
The company now has over $300 million in assets, according to CMG filings.
In November, healthcare company Tongji Healthcare Group acquired CMG in a reverse takeover that took the company public.
Bon-Yonahan also serves as CEO and chairman of the company, according to Bloomberg, which recorded his role starting from June – two months before the healthcare company agreed to takeover CMG (which at the time was called West of Hudson Group Inc.).
Clubhouse BH home above. The father-of-four admitted in a December interview he thought of TikTok as kids ‘messing around’ and ‘looked down on it.’ But, after moving to Los Angeles, he decided he wanted to cash in on what he saw as the modern-day ‘Gold Rush’ or ‘Wild West’
Influencers pose around the $42,000 a month Beverly Hills mansion rented by the company
In total, seven social media stars and staff members across the property portfolio told Insider Ben-Yohanan tried to set house members up on dates other influencers in order to get good content.
One former member, who remained anonymous but was in her early 20s, recalled one incident where the CEO text her saying he was sending her a ‘boyfriend’ to the Clubhouse BH property in Beverly Hills where she was staying.
‘I was single, and I remember Amir texting me — I guess he had some guests coming over to the house — and he said he had this guy that was going to be my boyfriend,’ she told the outlet.
She said Ben-Yohanan told her to ‘make sure you look nice’ and ‘make sure you put your makeup on.’
The former member said the encounter made her feel ‘sick.’
Another ex-member at the Clubhouse Next house in LA, which is now closed, also recalled being encouraged by Ben-Yohanan to go on dates, describing it as ‘very uncomfortable.’
‘He was very aggressive when it came to the whole dating scene,’ she said.
‘It just was a very uncomfortable, weird feeling,’ she said.
One influencer said Ben-Yohanan made comments about her having slept with a lot of people when she refused to go on one of the dates he set up.
Others described a culture where the boss was obsessed with numbers and would berate them for not having enough followers.
Quesada, 19, in a YouTube video in February (on far left). In the video she describes an incident where Ben-Yohanan allegedly brushed off concerns that influencers were being overworked by telling them they must be on their period
The company has also been accused of retaliating against members who have spoken out.
In March, it filed two defamation lawsuits against former house members saying they made ‘false and defamatory statements’ about the company and its management.
Other former members told Insider they had also been threatened with lawsuits if they spoke out.
Ben-Yohanan has stepped back from the day-to-day running of the houses and the company set up an Influencer Advisory Panel to support its talent following the February video by some of CMG’s stars.
However he continues to be CEO and and have full voting control over CMG’s overall business.
Ben-Yohanan responded to the latest allegations saying steps had been made to create a ‘more creative, collaborative, and beneficial environment.’
‘As I was made aware of concerns within our content houses, I immediately made a concerted effort to refocus my attention within the company and hired key personnel to assume all talent relations moving forward including a Chief of Staff and a Human Resources professional, ‘ Ben-Yohanan told Insider in a statement.
‘I believe that these actions have fostered a more creative, collaborative, and beneficial environment for our creators.’
CMG responded to the allegations saying it aims to ‘grow, learn, and course-correct.’
‘When Clubhouse Media Group formed, it endeavored to bring an earnest, professional approach to the content-house industry, an industry that is still very much in its infancy,’ the company told Insider in a statement.
‘As a startup, we have had our share of learning lessons and challenges. Thankfully, we’ve also gotten a lot right.
‘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.’
Since its inception last January, Clubhouse has set up nine houses, three of which have since shuttered – but more are on the way.
Clubhouse Media Group was co-founded by Ben-Yohanan in early 2020, offering young influencers the opportunity to stay rent-free at so-called content houses in Los Angeles , Las Vegas and Europe. Clubhouse Europe, located in Malta, is pictured above
An influencer at Clubhouse FTB. In just over a year, the company has become a $742 million-dollar business with much of that value believed to have come from people buying up stocks as they mistook it for the popular invite-only – and completely separate – Clubhouse chat app
The Clubhouse BH mansion is a 12,000-square-foot mansion complete with wine cellar and meditation garden and a $42,000 a month rental tag.
Based just a stone’s throw from the Playboy Mansion, the mansion draws in influencers aged 18 to 24.
At the now defunct Clubhouse Next and Not a Content House – also in LA – influencers were mostly 17 to 21 and 15 to 20 respectively.
The claims about the culture come as the firm’s future appears to be hanging in the balance.
While some houses have shuttered others are springing up but the financials have yo-yoed.
In November, healthcare company Tongji Healthcare Group acquired the company in a reverse takeover that took the company public.
Its value rocketed to $2.5 billion by February but this was thought to have been due to confusion among investors believing they were buying shares in the Clubhouse chat app, which has sparked buzz among tech obsessives.
Since then, CMG’s value has plunged to $742 million and the company admitted in an April filing that it has a history of operating losses and that there is ‘substantial doubt about its ability to continue.’