SAN FRANCISCO — Kanye West, the rapper and fashion designer known for his anti-Semitic comments, is no longer buying Parler, the social media service that bills itself as a free speech platform popular with right-wing audiences, the company said Thursday.
Mr West, whose name is Ye, agreed to buy Parler for an undisclosed sum in October, days after Instagram and Twitter restricted his accounts in response to anti-Semitic comments he shared on the platforms. The deal set up Ye along with Elon Musk, who bought Twitter, as prominent figures who would own a social media company, giving them personal outlets to voice their opinions on the platforms.
But Ye’s deal with Parler collapsed in mid-November, a Parler spokeswoman said. The social media service, which is owned by Parliament Technologies, has not specified why the sale to Ye fell through.
“Parliament Technologies has confirmed that the company has mutually agreed with Ye to terminate Parler’s intent to sell,” a Parler spokeswoman said in a statement. She added that Parler “would continue to pursue future growth opportunities and platform evolution for our vibrant community.”
You were not immediately available for comment.
In October, Ye said he would use Parler to ensure conservative voices were heard. “In a world where conservative opinions are considered controversial, we need to make sure we have the right to express ourselves freely,” he said.
More about Kanye West
Kanye West, the rapper and fashion designer now called Ye, has been at the center of several controversies.
Since then, Ye has continued to spread anti-Semitic messages. Several fashion brands, including Adidas, have broken deals with him because of those reports.
On Thursday, Ye appeared on a podcast hosted by the Infowars conspiracy channel Alex Jones, in which Ye praised Adolf Hitler.
“Every person has value that he brought to the table, especially Hitler,” Ye said during the interview, which took place about two weeks after he had dinner with former President Donald J. Trump at his home in Mar-a-Lago, accompanied by by Nick Fuentes, an outspoken anti-Semite and Holocaust denier.
The restrictions on Ye’s Twitter account were lifted last month. He was welcomed back to the platform by Mr Musk, who had completed his acquisition of the social media service.
Mr Musk responded to one of Ye’s first tweets after returning to the platform with a message that played with Ye’s name: “Don’t kill what you hate, keep what you love.”
Ye has been celebrating his return to Twitter and posting regularly on the service. “I love the First Amendment!” he tweeted on Thursday. “I pray to Jesus that Elon is real…”
His account on Parler has been mostly inactive for the past few days. Ye’s last Parler post was a week ago, when he shared the hashtag “#YE24,” which hinted at another presidential run. (In a bid for the nation’s top office in 2020, he missed the deadline to go on the ballot in many states and received only about 60,000 votes.)
Founded in 2018 and based in Nashville, Parler is known as an alternative and anything goes social media site. It has gained popularity among those who said they were censored on mainstream platforms for holding right-wing views. Backed by right-wing activist and heiress Rebekah Mercer, Parler was once the most downloaded app on Apple’s App Store, turning his resistance to strict content regulations into a selling point and attracting millions of Mr. Trump fans.
Last year, Apple, Amazon, and Google kicked Parler off their platforms after the app hosted calls for violence around the time of the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill. Apple and Google later restored the site to their app stores, but it struggled to maintain a large user base.
When Parler returned to Google’s Play Store in September, Christina Cravens, Parler’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement, “We’re still happy to do business with dissenters on terms we do agree on.”