Ousted CEO Matze ‘No White Knight’: Parler Owner

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De-platformed Twitter competitor Parler CEO and founder John Matze was terminated by the company’s Board of Directors on Feb. 3. According to a memo sent by Matze to staff, first obtained by Fox News, Matze claimed he had “met constant resistance” to his product vision and “strong belief in free speech,” adding that he “advocated for more product stability” and “a more effective approach to content moderation”  

But according to Parler co-owner Dan Bongino: “The story you’re hearing, unfortunately, is not correct.”

So here’s what really happened: we were the ones, in fact, fighting to get Parler back up. It was some really bad decisions made by people on the inside. And listen, this isn’t us airing dirty laundry this is protecting a company that is absolutely committed to free speech.

Parler Co-Owner, Dan Bongino

Bongino, a conservative Fox News political commentator who invested an undisclosed amount in Parler in June of 2020, posted a six-and-a-half-minute monologue on Facebook in response to Matze’s comments: ”I have no personal gripe against John, the CEO, at all. I want to be crystal clear. But John decided to make this public, not us. We were handling it like gentlemen and John decided somehow to make this public or put out this memo that was made public via press reports.

“So here’s what really happened: we were the ones, in fact, fighting to get Parler back up. It was some really bad decisions made by people on the inside. And listen, this isn’t us airing dirty laundry this is protecting a company that is absolutely committed to free speech.

“There were two separate visions for the company. And I dunno what John is saying in his reports out there, but this free speech vision, that was ours: the other owners of the company.”

While Parler has not publicly disclosed its ownership structure, Rebekah Mercer, daughter of hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, has identified herself as a co-founder of the big-tech competitor.

“John and I started Parler to provide a neutral platform for free speech, as our founders intended, and also to create a social media environment that would protect data privacy,” said Mercer in a June post on Parler. “The ever increasing tyranny and hubris of our tech overlords demands that someone lead the fight against data mining, and for the protection of free speech online,” she added.

This is an outrageous attack on people who have done nothing but work day and night to get this site back up and to fight back against these cancel culture goons.

Parler Co-Owner, Dan Bongino

Bongino continued: “Let me be crystal clear on this. He [Matze] makes two points that ‘oh I was a big advocate for free speech that was my vision’ and ‘I was a big advocate for product stability.’ That is not true … that is false… If he wants to get into a battle over here of narratives he is going to lose because there’s this thing getting in the way of that story he keeps telling and that’s called the truth.”

Matze told Reuters Parler now has an “Executive Committee” composed of Matthew Richardson and Mark Meckler. While no media reports seem to disclose who Matthew Richardson is, Mark Meckler appears to be host of The Mark Meckler Show and President of the Convention of States project.

Parler had said it expected to relaunch at the beginning of February, but according to an insider who spoke to Fox anonymously, “the delay was caused by new branding and changes occurring within the company for the sake of stability.”

Bongino was somewhat livid in a very lively video that he half-jokingly referred to as a press conference: “The relationship with Parler and the CEO did not work out because the CEO’s vision was not ours. Is everybody clear on that?

“Our vision was crystal clear. We needed to get up and fight back. Some terrible decisions were made in the past that led to this, that led to us getting locked down by Amazon and others. It was us, me and the two other owners that were constantly on the side of ‘this site is going to be a free speech platform or it was going to be nothing.’”

Dan Bongino speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Dan Bongino speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Image: Gage Skidmorevia Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 )

Bongino reiterated again, feeling strongly about the point: “The vision of the company as a free speech platform was mine and the two other owners, and we were resolutely committed to that.” 

The former NYPD officer and Secret Service agent said Parler could have been up “in a week” after being de-platformed simultaneously by Apple, Google, and Amazon Web Services: “If we just would have bent the knee and followed all the ridiculous Apple edicts to become a heavy moderation site to the left of Twitter.” They could have compromised their vision and gone along with Big Tech cartel-like censorship of the right, but: “That’s not what we’re gonna do. We don’t want garbage on our site either, and we took the proper steps to [prevent] that. But we were a free speech site and will remain as such and that’s why it’s taken so long to get back up.” 

Bongino, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Republican in 2012, 2014, and 2016,  emphasized several times that Matze’s version of events as himself as a martyr were untrue: “Again, I cannot tell you that enough and I’m not going to let this narrative fester. It is me and my co-owners that are resolutely committed to a free speech site. He is not telling the truth there. And the product stability… that he was committed to product stability? Wait until the real story comes out there one day about product stability and our warnings. Our, me, and the two others’ warnings to him about product stability… Is he really sure he wants to get into this?

“This is an outrageous attack on people who have done nothing but work day and night to get this site back up and to fight back against these cancel culture goons.

“To get knee-capped like this by someone we trusted is a disgrace. He is no white knight in this story… When the real story comes out and you see the communications, if those ever come out, you’ll see my story is one hundred percent true because it’s not a story, it’s the facts… You know what happens with fake news. If you let it fester, people start to believe it.” Bongino said Parler was looking to be back up and running as early as Monday, Feb. 8.

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