Kanye West agrees to buy conservative social media platform Parler, company says

Kanye West arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Feb. 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Evan Agostini | Invision | AP

Kanye West, the superstar rapper who has made several inflammatory and antisemitic comments in recent weeks, has agreed in principle to buy conservative social media platform Parler, the app’s parent company said in a statement Monday.

“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 West, who now goes by Ye, in a statement released by Parler.

The move comes after Ye was locked out of his Twitter and Instagram accounts for making antisemitic posts. In one post, Ye played into a long-standing antisemitic conspiracy theory that fellow rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs is being controlled by Jewish people.

Ye’s net worth is reportedly $2 billion. Much of his fortune comes from from his Yeezy sneakers brand and partnerships with Gap and Adidas. However, Ye severed business ties with Gap recently, and Adidas said it’s also reviewing its business relationship with him. JPMorgan Chase also cut ties with the rapper.

The platform, a favorite among American conservatives that is used by supporters of former President Donald Trump, was swept in controversy last year over the role it played in the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol building. That led a slew of tech companies, including Google and Amazon, to blacklist the service, rendering its app and website inaccessible.

In September, however, Google reinstated the app on its Play Store, stating the company modified some of its content moderation policies and enforcement. Apple restored the app on its App Store platform in April 2021.

Parler has sought to reduce its dependence on technologies from other firms by establishing its own cloud infrastructure in-house. The company set up a new parent company in September, called Parlement Technologies, aimed at providing its own cloud service for online business. “The future is uncancelable,” the company said at the time.

The terms of the deal include technical support for Parler from its parent company, as well as the use of its private cloud services, according to the Monday announcement.

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