US

Fired Parler CEO John Matze says he was betrayed by Rebekah Mercer

Fired Parler CEO John Matze says he was ‘betrayed’ and stabbed in the back by heiress investor Rebekah Mercer over his termination – as House Democrats demand a list of investors and creditors after it emerged Trump was offered a stake in the social media company.

The 27-year-old has claimed that he was fired by the Parler board last week by after trying to ban QAnon conspiracy theories and crackdown on white supremacists on the social media app he co-founded.  

He blamed Mercer, a conservative mega-donor and daughter of hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, for his termination.   

‘I feel like it was a stab in the back by somebody that I thought I knew. And so for me, you know, I would never do business with her again,’ Matze told Axios on HBO

‘I thought I knew her. She invited my family on trips with them and everything. I thought that she was, generally speaking, I thought she was being real. And then she just abruptly has her people fire me and doesn’t even talk to me about it.’ 

Fired Parler CEO John Matze told Axios on HBO that he was ‘betrayed’ and stabbed in the back by heiress investor Rebekah Mercer after he was ousted by the board last week

The 27-year-old blamed investor Rebekah Mercer, a conservative mega-donor and daughter of hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, for his termination. She is pictured at Trump Tower in New York back in December 2016

The 27-year-old blamed investor Rebekah Mercer, a conservative mega-donor and daughter of hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, for his termination. She is pictured at Trump Tower in New York back in December 2016

Matze said Mercer, who he first met while working as an IT consultant for her father’s firm, helped fund Parler in 2018 and she became a controlling shareholder of the social media app. 

He claims Mercer became more involved in the operations at Parler ahead of the election. 

Matze said a rift form during an internal disagreement last summer after he wanted to more broadly define the term violence in the companies terms of service.

He claims it came to a head around the time of the Capitol riots last month as Amazon decided to remove Parler from its web-hosting service and Google and Apple removed the app from their online stores.

Matze claims he was met by resistance from those within Parler when he pushed for increased moderation in order to get the app back online. 

In a leaked memo to employees announcing his termination, Matze squarely blamed Mercer for his firing, writing: ‘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.’ 

The app has come under fire for being among social media services used to plan the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. 

Parler has come under fire for being among social media services used to plan the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. The executive shake-up is the latest woe to befall Parler, which remains effectively offline after Amazon Web Services last month revoked server support

Parler has come under fire for being among social media services used to plan the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. The executive shake-up is the latest woe to befall Parler, which remains effectively offline after Amazon Web Services last month revoked server support

Parler experienced a surge in users after Twitter banned Trump amid pressure to curb incendiary speech. Trump also was banned by Facebook and Instagram.

Matze has previously said Trump contemplated joining Parler under a pseudonym.

In a leaked memo to employees announcing his termination, Matze squarely blamed Mercer for his firing, writing: '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.'

In a leaked memo to employees announcing his termination, Matze squarely blamed Mercer for his firing, writing: ‘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.’

He told Axios on HBO that any potential deal with Trump was a lose-lose scenario. 

‘I didn’t like the idea of working with Trump because he might have bullied people inside the company to do what he wanted. But I was worried that if we didn’t sign the deal, he might have been vengeful and told his followers to leave Parler,’ Matze said. 

It has since emerged that Trump was reportedly in talks to acquire a 40 percent stake in Parler in exchange for him agreeing to post on the social media app first. 

Matze and two other Parler advisers met at Mar-a-Lago in June to discuss the deal

He did not mention that meeting during his Axios interview despite talking about the deal.  

It comes as House Democrats asked that Parler hand over a list of investors and creditors in the wake of news that Trump was offered a stake. 

‘These negotiations reportedly occurred while President Trump was still in office,’ House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney wrote in a letter to Parler chief operating officer Jeffrey Wernick. 

Mercer, whom Matze has blamed for his firing, is the daughter of Robert Mercer (pictured above together), a hedge fund manager and the co-founder of the now-defunct political data-analysis firm Cambridge Analytica

Mercer, whom Matze has blamed for his firing, is the daughter of Robert Mercer (pictured above together), a hedge fund manager and the co-founder of the now-defunct political data-analysis firm Cambridge Analytica

REBEKAH MERCER: THE CONSERVATIVE DONOR AND ACTIVIST 

Rebekah Mercer, 47, is a prominent conservative donor and activist.

Based in New York, she was briefly a stock trader and was married to a high-ranking Morgan Stanley executive. 

She is now listed as ‘retired’ or ‘homemaker’ on financial declarations.

Others give her a different title: the ‘First Lady of the Alt-Right.’ 

Her father, Robert, is the co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies hedge fund and is estimated by Bloomberg to be worth at least $1 billion.

The Mercers for years donated to the Koch brothers’ political network, but started to act alone after the Republicans’ failure to unseat president Barack Obama reportedly led Rebekah to say the Koch network was full of ‘fools.’

They initially backed Ted Cruz, pushing him to take a harder line on immigration during the presidential primaries, before switching their allegiance to Trump. 

Publicity shy, their money, according to a December 2017 report in Quartz, is spent on Breitbart, Cambridge Analytica, a machine gun company and a horse farm in Florida. 

Maloney specifically asked for stakeholders with ‘direct or indirect ownership interests’ and any entity that Parler owes $10,000 or more to. 

In the wake of his Matze’s firing and the bitter fall out, Parler investor Dan Bongino publicly slammed the ousted CEO as a liar.

In a statement to DailyMail.com, Bongino slammed Matze’s comments about his firing as ‘inaccurate and misleading’.  

Bongino, a conservative podcast host and commentator, said that Matze had ‘difficulty reconciling guidelines enforcement on the one hand, and free expression on the other.’

‘We intend to demonstrate that there is no conflict between these, because the free exchange of ideas requires the exclusion of (threats of) violence.’

In a separate Facebook livestream, Bongino said: ‘I’m really p***ed off right now… The relationship with Parler and the CEO did not work out because the CEO’s vision was not ours. Everybody clear on that? Our vision was crystal clear.’  

‘This site was going to be a free speech platform or it was going to be nothing,’ Bongino said. ‘The vision of the company as a free speech platform was mine and the two other owners, and we were resolutely committed to that.’

‘We could have been up in a week, if we had just bent the knee and followed all the ridiculous Apple edicts to become a heavy-moderation site to the left of Twitter. 

‘We don’t want garbage on our site either and we took the proper steps to do that, but we were a free speech site.’  

Bongino also hinted that ‘terrible decisions’ were made under Matze’s leadership that led to the site being taken offline, without offering further details.

‘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,’ he said. 

The executive shake-up is the latest woe to befall Parler, which remains effectively offline after Amazon Web Services last month revoked server support over ‘egregious content’ on the app after the Capitol riot.

Apple and Google also removed the app from their stores, making Parler effectively unavailable on smartphones. 

JOHN MATZE’S FULL MEMO TO PARLER STAFF OVER HIS FIRING

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.

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.

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.

After that, I’ll be looking for new opportunities where my technical acumen, vision and the causes I am passionate about will be required and respected.

I want to thank all the people of Parler that supported me and the platform. This has been the true American Dream: an idea from a living room to a company of considerable value.

I’m not saying goodbye, just so long for now.


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button