Parler co-founder and former CEO John Matze is suing the social media platformand claimed his 40% stake in the company had been stolen from him.
Matze is seeking millions in damages for the “orchestrated theft” of his partial ownership of Parler, according to his lawsuit filed Monday in Clark County District Court, Nevada.
Launched in 2018 as an alternative to other social media sites banning certain posts as extreme or misleading, Parler became a haven for right-wing opinions after Facebook and Twitter began combating hate speech and false claims about the election.
The side was grounded after thatof supporters of then President Donald Trump. Apple and Google from their e-commerce stores, while Amazon suspended its web hosting services for Parler due to its unwillingness to remove violent posts after the Capitol uprising.
After Parler’s plug was effectively pulled, Matze was marketed by conservative donor Rebekah Mercer, another co-founder who funded Parler’s startup, according to earlier statements by Matze and his suit.
Prior to his release, Matze suggested excluding known extremist groups that incite violence. His proposal met with “total silence, which he saw as a rejection of his proposal,” says the document.
Matz was “abruptly ousted” for trying to “maintain Parler’s commitment to free speech while combating abuse by violent extremists and domestic terrorists following the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol,” it said in the lawsuit. “Rather than protecting Parler, its other owner, Rebekah Mercer, tried to co-opt it as a symbol or as the ‘tip of the spear’ for her kind of conservatism, planning to force Matze as CEO, manager and member, and his forty percent (40 %) Steal ownership shares. “
Parler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Parler made a comeback online, with Mark Meckler from the Tea Party Patriots movement at the helm as interim CEO of the app.
Parler said it had more than 12 million users when it went offline in January. Matzes suit projects on the site were valued at nearly a billion dollars.