Social media platform Parler says musician Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, is acquiring the company.
In a press release issued on Monday, a Parler spokesperson said Ye had entered into an agreement to purchase agreement with Parler in order to “create a truly non-cancelable environment.”
The agreement comes less than a week after Ye was temporarily banned from publishing on several prominent social media websites following his controversial and hateful remarks about Jewish individuals. He signed up for an account on Parler around the same time.
“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 on Monday.
George Farmer, Parler’s chief executive, said he welcomed Ye’s purchase of the social media company.
“This deal will change the world, and change the way the world thinks about free speech,” Farmer said in a statement. “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.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not immediately available. Parler said the deal is expected to close later this year.
In an interview with the Fox Business Network on Monday, Farmer said Parler’s parent company, Parlement Technologies, would continue to exist as a separate entity and was not part of the purchase agreement. He affirmed Ye’s interest in the Parler platform was due in large part to the musician’s ban from several other mainstream social media services.
“Parler needs Ye in many ways, because Parler needs its brand to expand, and I thinkYe is very interested in expanding his presence,” Farmer said.
Parler functions as a microblogging website, with features that are similar to Twitter. The social media platform said it posits itself as a free-speech platform, and has been embraced by particular social and political groups who feel that mainstream social media companies are too restrictive in speech and expression. Conservative politicians, conspiracy theorists and groups identified as far-right extremists make up a significant chunk of Parler’s user base, according to media analysts.
The platform gained international attention following the riot on the U.S. Capitol early last year, after investigators accused some organizers of using Parler to plan and promote the riot. After intense public pressure, Apple and Google pulled Parler’s mobile apps from their software stores. Amazon, who had provided cloud computing services to Parler, terminated them as a customer, leading to a lawsuit that was eventually dropped.
The loss of Amazon’s cloud computing service, as well as a similar move by Parler’s domain registrar, forced the social media platform offline for several weeks. Parler was eventually brought back online after it secured its own cloud computing technology and transferred its domain name to a different web registrar. Its apps were eventually restored to Apple’s App Store around March of last year and to the Google Play Store last month.