In a memo to staff obtained by news media outlets such as Fox News, John Matze announced that Parler fired him as CEO of the Twitter competitor.
“On January 29, 2021, the Parler board controlled by Rebekah Mercer decided to immediately terminate my position as CEO of Parler. I did not participate in this decision. I understand that those who now control the company have made some communications to employees and other third parties that have unfortunately created confusion and prompted me to make this public statement,” Matze explained.
Parler has been struggling to get back online after it was booted from the Google and Apple app stores and abruptly de-platformed by Amazon Web Services, actions which occurred during the platform’s explosive growth particularly after the Twitter suspension of then-President Donald Trump.
In January, a federal judge appointed by former President Jimmy Carter denied Parler’s request for a court order to compel Amazon to reinstate Parler to the cloud.
“Over the past few months, I’ve met constant resistance to my product vision, my strong belief in free speech and my view of how the Parler site should be managed. For example, I advocated for more product stability and what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation,” Matze continued, suggesting that decision-makers were not unified in the path forward.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 17, 2021
“I have worked endless hours and fought constant battles to get the Parler site running but at this point, the future of Parler is no longer in my hands.” Matze concluded, thanking Parler employees for their hard work and adding that after the dust settles, he will be exploring new opportunities. Matze told Reuters that he exited the company without any settlement.
Confirming Matze’s termination, Parler investor and conservative pundit Dan Bongino, however, took to Facebook to offer a far different narrative, in that ownership actually was committed to free speech and to a stable product and “to get kneecapped by someone we trusted is a disgrace. He is no white knight in this story.”
“Here’s what really happened. We were the ones, in fact, fighting to get Parler back up. It was some really bad decisions made by people on the inside…there were two separate visions for the company…but this free speech vision, that was ours. The other owners of the company…the relationship with Parler and the CEO did not work out because the CEO’s vision was not ours…we needed to get up and fight back. Some terrible decisions were made in the past that led us to getting put down by Amazon and others.
“It was me and the two other owners that were constantly on the side that this site was going to be a free speech platform or it was gonna be nothing…we could have been up in a week if we just would have bent the knee and followed all the ridiculous Apple edicts to become a heavy moderation site to the left of Twitter…
“We were a free speech site and will remain as such, and that’s why it’s taking us so long to get back up,” Bongino insisted. “And John’s statements out there that he made in this leaked memo that made it into the news, those statements are false.”
Watch the Bongino video embedded below and draw your own conclusions:
During a separation in any industry, employer and employee often have different perceptions of what and why it happened, and these impressions may not necessarily be mutually exclusive. In general, revisionist history also is common. All that aside, with free speech under attack by the cancel culture, it’s unfortunate that rifts and infighting of this nature occur.
Undoubtedly more details will be forthcoming about the management changes at Parler, which is expected to relaunch at some point.
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