Kanye West, the musician now known as Ye, is buying Parler, a social media platform that styles itself as a “free speech” alternative to Twitter. The acquisition was announced by Parler in a press release, which said that it has entered into an agreement in principle with Ye that’s expected to close later this year.
“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” said Ye in a press statement.
Parler’s parent company Parlement Technologies said the acquisition would help create “an uncancelable ecosystem where all voices are welcome.”
Parler was removed from Apple and Google’s app stores following the Capitol riots
Parler’s emphasis on free speech has made it a lightning rod for ring-wing conspiracy theorists. The platform was accused of helping rioters plan and coordinate the storming of the Capitol building that took place on January 6th, 2021. Following the riots, both Google and Apple removed Parler from their respective app stores. Apple cited the “threats of violence and illegal activity” on Parler, and said that the social media network had “not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.” That same month, Amazon also kicked Parler off its web hosting service.
Parler was later reinstated on both appstores after agreeing to more closely moderate posts. Its website appeared back online in February 2021. Parlement Technologies’ press release notes that it will continue to provide “ongoing technical support” and offer cloud services via its “private cloud and data center infrastructure” after the acquisition. The company has previously suggested these cloud services are “uncancelable.”
In a press statement, Parlement Technologies CEO George Farmer said the deal would “change the world, and change the way the world thinks about free speech.”
Said Farmer: “Ye is making a groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again. Once again, Ye proves that he is one step ahead of the legacy media narrative. Parlement will be honored to help him achieve his goals.”
News of the acquisition comes a little over a week after Ye was locked out of his Instagram account and then Twitter account (the latter for posting an anti-Semitic tweet). “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE,” Ye wrote in a tweet on October 8th. “The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew.”
In recent years, Ye has expressed increasing support for right-wing causes, but his statements also frequently tip over into controversy and conspiracy. Earlier this month, he was criticized for wearing a t-shirt bearing the slogan “White Lives Matter” at Paris Fashion Week and for comments made during a Fox News interview with Tucker Carlson. Unaired segments of the interview showed Ye making anti-Semitic statements and espousing various conspiracy theories, including stating that fake children are being used to manipulate his own offspring.
Ye was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 and has since spoken openly about his problems with his mental health. In 2019, he said that during manic episodes he becomes “hyper-paranoid about everything, everyone.” Said Ye: “This is my experience, other people have different experiences. Everyone now is an actor. Everything’s a conspiracy.”