John Matze has been fired by the board of Parler as the CEO of the platform, hinting that the organisation may move away from embracing free speech.
Matze, who founded Parler in 2018 with Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of conservative billionaire Robert Mercer, told employees in a memo obtained by Fox News that he had been fired from his position as CEO by the board of the company on January 29th.
“I did not participate in this decision,” Matze said. “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,” he added, noting that Rebekah Mercer controls the board.
Matze claimed that he had met “constant resistance” to his vision for Parler, including his “strong belief in free speech” and how the site should be managed:
For example, I advocated for more product stability and what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation. 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.
I want to thank the Parler employees, the people on Parler and Parler supporters for their tireless work and devotion to the company. They are an amazing group of diverse, hardworking and talented individuals and I have the utmost respect for them. Many of them have become my second family.
He concluded the memo by saying that he would be taking some time off before looking for “new opportunities where my technical acumen, vision and the causes I am passionate about will be required and respected.”
Parler has been offline since January 10th, following the decision by Amazon Web Services to pull the plug on the company’s web hosting following the protests on Capitol Hill, with AWS claiming that the New Tech site allowed “violent content” to remain up, something Parler challenged at the time.
Matze had suggested that Parler would be ready to go back online by the start of this month, after switching their domain hosting to Epik, the free speech domain hoster. However, the move back was delayed, with a Parler insider telling Fox News that the delay was caused by “new branding and changes occurring within the company for the sake of stability.”