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Parler executives refute claims by the company’s now-ousted CEO

Updated February 5, 2021 - 8:43 am

Claims made by Parler CEO John Matze about his ouster are being refuted by executives at the social media company.

“Mr. Matze’s characterizations of the events and circumstances surrounding his termination from the Parler CEO position have been inaccurate and misleading,” Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff said in an emailed statement to the Review-Journal Thursday.

Henderson-based firm Parler was one of several social media services used by insurrectionists to plan the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, where nearly 140 officers were injured including Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick, who later died.

Matze posted a message Wednesday on the professional networking site LinkedIn thanking Parler employees. He also linked to a news report by Fox Business quoting a company memo where he tells employees he was fired Jan. 29 by the company’s board.

“The Parler board controlled by Rebekah Mercer decided to immediately terminate my position as CEO of Parler,” the memo said. “I did not participate in this decision.”

Mercer is a prominent conservative donor and the daughter of Robert Mercer, a hedge fund manager who co-founded the now-defunct London political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Working to relaunch website

Peikoff did not elaborate on why Matze’s allegations about his ousting were inaccurate but said the company is working to relaunch the website.

“We are continuing to move forward with our relaunch and look forward to welcoming everyone back very soon,” she said in a statement.

Amazon Web Services removed Parler from its web-hosting service on Jan. 11 over its unwillingness to remove posts that called for the killing, rape and torture of politicians, tech executives and others. Google and Apple removed Parler’s app from their online stores.

Parler attempted to have Amazon restore its web service, but the request was denied by a federal judge on Jan. 22. District Judge Barbara Rothstein in Seattle said she wasn’t dismissing Parler’s claims against Amazon.

Matze, who co-founded the social media platform in 2018, said in a court filing that Parler’s abrupt shutdown was motivated at least partly by “a desire to deny President Trump a platform on any large social-media service” – referring to the former president being banned by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram after the Jan. 6 attack.

Trump contemplated joining Parler under a pseudonym, Matze said.

He told the court Parler has “no tolerance for inciting violence or lawbreaking” and has relied on volunteer “jurors” to flag problem posts and vote on whether they should be removed.

Amazon said the suspension was a “last resort” to block Parler from harboring violent plans to disrupt the presidential transition.

Contact Subrina Hudson at shudson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @SubrinaH on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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