Parler, the pro-Donald Trump social media site that has served as something of a brainworm all-you-can-eat buffet in recent years, is being sued by its own co-founder and former CEO.
Following the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill, which was partially organized on the site laden with violent death threats from Parler, Amazon web services started Parler from its servers and Apple and Google launched it in their respective app stores. The site is now back despite failing to convince any of those other companies to let it return, but CEO John Matze did not return for the second leg of the journey. He was ousted in some kind of internal dispute with Republican mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, a major investor who is reportedly now finance personally the site, and far-right former NRATV expert and fellow investor Dan Bongino, whose role appears to consist, at least partially, of urging his millions of Facebook followers to migrate to a site in which he has a personal financial stake. .
The exit did not go well, with Bongino accusing Matze of trying to sell the original mission of the site as a utopia of free speech where almost anything legal goes, exactly what the troubled company first, and Matze tell the media Mercer had turned a blind eye to the onslaught of QAnon conspiracy theorists, neo-Nazis, fascists, racists, and other nasty fanatics who took over the site. Now Matze claims that his 40 percent stake in the company was stolen in a “flamboyant and arrogant robbery … personified by oppression, fraud and malice.” according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Matze wrote in court documents alleging breach of contract and defamation that Parler was “kidnapped to further the personal political interests and personal advantages of the defendants rather than to serve as the platform for free expression as originally conceived.” Both Mercer and Bongino are named as defendants in the lawsuit, along with COO Jeffrey Wernick and the new acting CEO of Tea Party activist Parler. Mark Meckler.
Matze wrote on the suit that the company was initially founded using a holding company designed to hide Mercer’s stake, and was fought over financial issues (according to him, Mercer characterized his 60 percent equity stake as a loan that should be repaid). He added that Mercer appeared to lose interest in the site until around November 2020; it’s unclear exactly when, but this would have been sometime around the time Parler records were emerging Amid Trump’s claims, the election was stolen, and he subsequently refused to commit to proposals for stricter restraint in the wake of the unrest. By NPR:
“Matze’s proposal was met with deathly silence, which he considered a rejection of his proposal,” according to the lawsuit.
Matze says in the lawsuit that Mercer brought in allies, including Wernick, to “force him out of the company.”
Wernick allegedly threatened Matze with a “flood of claims and legal costs if he dared challenge Mercer,” the lawsuit states.
Wernick, according to the lawsuit, told Matze not to consult his own attorney and threatened him that he would “go broke” if he did.
Matze pretends to be some kind of innocent-minded scapegoat in a suit. The court documents state that upon meeting his eventual replacement, Meckler, “it became clear to Matze that Meckler’s efforts were not to grow Parler as a free expression platform, but to redirect him to what Meckler called the ‘ tip of the conservative spear. ‘by a brand of conservatism befitting Mercer’s preferences. ” Considering the obvious of Parler ideological pimping, who allegedly tried to lure Trump into registering an account with promises of a shareholding in the summer of 2020, and of which Matze boasted ban liberal “trolls” Across the site, it’s hard to take seriously the claim that Matze had no idea that his site would be used to promote the right-wing agenda.
Finally, Matze claims in the lawsuit that Parler’s management slandered him with suggestions of misconduct and breach of his obligations as a manager, when in reality the site kept coming back online using the technical game plan he developed, just too bad. (Since Meckler “lacked the technical know-how to run such a social media platform, and its actual role was simply to push a political agenda, the implementation was more than poor,” Matze added.) Shakedown, the folks at Mercer determined that the “fair market value” of their 40 percent stake was a measly Three dollars.
Maybe in that, We can agree: Parler is worth about $ 7.50, plus or minus a few dollars depending on whether he helps to successfully spark another failed insurrection.
Matze, however, says that his share of Internet hell is actually worth millions, and that in internal discussions he and Mercer had valued the site at a billion dollars or more.
The former CEO “hopes to present his claims in court and be vindicated,” Matze’s attorney, James Pisanelli, told the Sun in a statement.