Kanye West’s deal to buy the self-described “free speech” social network Parler lasted only a month. Parler’s owner announced the termination of the deal shortly after West—who now goes by Ye—praised Adolf Hitler and Nazis in an appearance yesterday on Alex Jones’ Infowars show.
Despite Parler making the announcement yesterday, it said the deal was terminated in mid-November. In a statement emailed to Ars and other news organizations Thursday afternoon, Parlement Technologies said it “mutually agreed with Ye to terminate the intent of sale of Parler. This decision was made in the interest of both parties in mid-November. Parler will continue to pursue future opportunities for growth and the evolution of the platform for our vibrant community.”
Parler and Ye had announced a merger agreement on October 17. The deal was struck after Ye made antisemitic posts that got his Twitter account locked, putting it into a read-only mode while leaving it visible to the public.
Ye’s Twitter account was unlocked in late October just as Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter was finalized. Musk supported Ye publicly but said the account unlocking happened before the acquisition and that Twitter “did not consult with or inform me.”
Ye suspended after swastika tweet
But now Ye may have lost his Twitter account for good after tweeting an image of a swastika inside the Star of David last night. Ye “again violated our rule against incitement to violence,” Musk wrote. This time, the account was suspended, removing his profile and tweets completely.
Hate speech on Twitter against Black people, gay men, and Jews has increased significantly since Musk bought the company, according to research by the Center for Countering Digital Hate and the Anti-Defamation League described in a New York Times article today.
As Deadline noted, “West’s Twitter account was initially locked temporarily for 12 hours after the offensive tweet, which was deleted,” but the “account then disappeared with a ‘suspended’ label over it.” Ye has started posting on Truth Social, the social network launched by former President Donald Trump. Ye’s Parler account is still online, but he hasn’t posted in a week.
The swastika tweet came a few hours after the interview with Jones in which Ye said, “I like Hitler” and “I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis,” among various other antisemitic statements. “Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler,” Ye said, while denying that Hitler killed 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. Ye also claimed that Hitler invented highways and microphones.
Ye said he’d protect conservative opinions at Parler
When his now-terminated deal to buy Parler was announced, Ye said he intended to protect conservative opinions. “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 the deal announcement. Ye also said in an interview with Bloomberg that “when I got kicked off of Instagram and Twitter at the time, I knew it was time to acquire my own platform.”
Parler said on October 17 that it expected Ye to complete the purchase during the fourth quarter of 2022. “The proposed acquisition will assure Parler a future role in creating an uncancelable ecosystem where all voices are welcome,” Parler said at the time.
Apple kicked Parler off its app store in January 2021 after Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol. With Parler users’ role in the attack under scrutiny, Parler told Congress that “in the days and weeks leading up to January 6th, Parler referred violent content from its platform to the FBI for investigation over 50 times, and Parler even alerted law enforcement to specific threats of violence being planned at the Capitol.”
Apple allowed Parler back on its app store in April 2021 after the social network changed its content moderation. Google also booted Parler in January 2021 and didn’t allow the company back until September 2022.