Kanye West has announced his intention to buy Parler, which bills itself as “the world’s pioneering uncancelable free speech platform,” according to The New York Times.
“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” Ye said in a statement released by Parler’s parent company, Parlement Technologies. Neither party has disclosed the agreed price.
West’s decision comes after his Twitter and Instagram accounts were restricted for writing that he’d go “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE,” and insinuating that Jews controlled fellow rapper-turned-mogul Diddy, respectively.
Notably, Parler’s CEO is George Farmer, the husband of conservative pundit Candace Owens. Owens recently joined Ye in wearing “White Lives Matter” apparel, and while it’s unclear if she leveraged that relationship to help broker the deal, this sale is good news for all Parler stakeholders, as the platform seemed to have been caught in a death spiral.
At one time Parler was the No. 1 news app in the US, when a deplatformed former President Trump led a conservative migration in search of little fact checking or content moderation. But Parler now ranks 108th, according to Data.ai. Many users left after Apple, Amazon, and Google briefly stopped hosting Parler, a punishment for not moderating calls for violence related to the January 6th Capitol insurrection. Other conservative supporters followed Trump when he founded the competing social media network, Truth Social.
Time will tell if buying Parler is a good business decision. But the action serves as a reminder that Kanye West is a billionaire, and whatever the state of his mental health, he possesses the resources to turn his ideas into actions that could ripple throughout society.
As a businessman, West is becoming increasingly isolated. Just in the last month he terminated his Yeezy Gap line, Adidas announced that their deal was “under review” — perhaps because he attempted to intimidate an Adidas executive by showing him porn on his phone — and his bank JP Morgan Chase also cut ties with him, as reports surfaced that he had privately praised Hitler and Nazis. Now, George Floyd’s family is considering a defamation lawsuit for spreading misinformation that Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose and not because, as the coroner found, a police officer kneeled on his neck for over eight minutes.
Kanye West’s antisemitism goes back over a decade; revisit a timeline of his bigoted behavior.