Rapper Ye, also known by his given name Kanye West, is buying politically right-leaning social network Parler.
Parlement Technologies, Parler’s parent company, said in a news release on Monday that Ye “has become the richest Black man in history through music and apparel and is taking a bold stance against his recent censorship from Big Tech, using his far-reaching talents to further lead the fight to create a truly non-cancelable environment.”
Instagram and Twitter earlier thisto his accounts on their platforms for posting antisemitic comments, saying the remarks violated company policy. In one post on Twitter, Ye said he would soon go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” according to internet archive records, making an apparent reference to the U.S. defense readiness condition scale known as DEFCON.
“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.
Launched in 2018, Parler drew a surge of users following the 2020 presidential election, fashioning itself as a forum for conservative thought and alternative to other social media sites.
But Amazonon its web service last year after the technology giant said Parler had failed to block content that could incite violence in wake of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Other mainstream media platforms also booted Parler from their platforms, although it is now available on Apple’s app store and Google Play.
In the days leading up to the, supporters of former President Trump and members of far right groups like the Proud Boys and the used Parler to call for violence on January 6 and organized plans to infiltrate the Capitol.
The Parler app has been downloaded 6.2 million times in the U.S. and 8.5 million times globally from the Apple App Store and Google Play, according to data.ai. But Parler’s audience has fallen sharply over the last year, dropping to 725,000 monthly active users on average in the first half of 2022, from more than 5 million in the year-ago period, the digital research firm found.
Parlement CEO George Farmer said in a statement on Monday that “Ye is making a groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again.”
Terms of Ye’s purchase of Parler weren’t disclosed. The deal is expected to close by year-end.
In 2021, Bloomberg ranked West as the wealthiest Black American, pegging his.
The rapper is no stranger to controversy. Most recently, Ye and conservative activist Candace Owens sparked criticism after the pair attended a Paris fashion show while wearing shirts with the phrase. The phrase has been adopted and promoted by white supremacist groups and sympathizers, according to the Anti-Defamation League. He also has suggested slavery was a choice and called the COVID-19 vaccine the “mark of the beast.”
—The Associated Press contributed to this report.