SAN FRANCISCO – Kanye West, a rapper and fashion designer known for antisemitic commentary, is no longer buying Parler, a social media service that bills itself as a platform for free speech and is popular among right-wing audiences, the company said on Thursday.
West, who goes by Ye, agreed to buy Parler for an undisclosed sum in October, days after Instagram and Twitter restricted his accounts in response to antisemitic commentary he shared on the platforms. The deal set Ye up alongside Mr Elon Musk, who was buying Twitter, as prominent figures who would own a social media company, giving them personal outlets to assert their views about speech on the platforms.
But Ye’s deal for Parler collapsed in mid-November, a Parler spokesperson said. The social media service, owned by Parlement Technologies, did not specify why the sale to Ye was not moving forward.
“Parlement Technologies has confirmed that the company has mutually agreed with Ye to terminate the intent of sale of Parler,” a Parler spokesperson said in a statement. She added that Parler would “continue to pursue future opportunities for growth and the evolution of the platform for our vibrant community”.
Ye could not immediately be reached for comment.
‘I love the first amendment’
In October, Ye said he would use Parler to ensure that conservative voices were heard.
“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial, we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” he said.
Since then, Ye has continued to push antisemitic messages. Several fashion brands, including Adidas, have severed deals with him because of those posts.
On Thursday, Ye appeared on a podcast hosted by Infowars conspiracy broadcaster Alex Jones, during which Ye praised Adolf Hitler.
“Every human being has value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler,” Ye said during the interview, which took place about two weeks after he dined with former president Donald Trump at Mr Trump’s Florida home in Mar-a-Lago, accompanied by Mr Nick Fuentes, an outspoken antisemite and Holocaust denier.
The restrictions on Ye’s Twitter account were lifted in November. He was welcomed back to the platform by Mr Musk.
Mr Musk responded to one of Ye’s first tweets after returning to the platform with a message that toyed with Ye’s name: “Don’t kill what ye hate Save what ye love.”
Ye has celebrated his return to Twitter, frequently posting messages to the service. “I love the first amendment!” he tweeted on Thursday. “I pray to Jesus that Elon is for real …”