CONTROVERSIAL social media platform Parler is unlikely to ever return online, as its former CEO speaks out about bitter infighting, betrayal, and its initial attempts to lure in President Trump.
‘I didn’t like the idea of working with Trump because he might have bullied people inside the company to do what he wanted’ fired CEO John Matze said. ‘But I was worried that if we didn’t sign the deal, he might have been vengeful and told his followers to leave Parler’.
The Trump Organisation, which negotiated on behalf of the president, was offered a 40% stake in Parler if the President made an account on the platform, though no deal was ever finalised, according to documents reviewed by Buzzfeed News.
Matze and two other Parler advisers met at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in June to discuss the deal, while Trump was still in office. This has led to Democrats now demanding to see a list of all Parler’s financial interests over $10,000.
Fired from Parler following the platform’s hosting and advertising ban in the shadow of the Captiol riots, Matze says he was ‘betrayed’ and stabbed in the back by heiress investor Rebekah Mercer over his termination.
The 27-year-old claims that he was fired by the Parler board after trying to ban Qanon conspiracy theories and crackdown on extremists.
Blaming Mercer, a conservative mega-donor and daughter of hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer who co-founded controversial political data company Cambridge Analytica, for his termination, Matze said:
‘I feel like it was a stab in the back by somebody that I thought I knew. And so for me, you know, I would never do business with her again.
‘I thought I knew her. She invited my family on trips with them and everything. I thought that she was, generally speaking, I thought she was being real. And then she just abruptly has her people fire me and doesn’t even talk to me about it.’
In a leaked memo to employees announcing his termination, Matze blames Mercer for his firing, writing: ‘Over the past few months, I’ve met constant resistance to my product vision, my strong belief in free speech and my view of how the Parler site should be managed.’
The platform is unlikely to return, with all major hosting and advertising companies boycotting it after Parler bigwigs allegedly refused to take down posts that called for the torture and execution of politicians. The platform was also condemned for being used by plotters of the riot at Capitol Hill, Washington.
Adding a further blow to any chances of a comeback, Parler’s court case against Amazon was dismissed by a US District judge, who said that the ruling was “not a close call”, and that Amazon will not have to legally reconnect Parler to its web hosting services.