Parler’s Chief Executive Officer John Matze has been terminated by the company’s board as the social media platform continues to struggle to return online.
Matze made the sudden and surprise announcement in a memo sent to staffers, first obtained and reported by Fox News, that the board had voted to terminate him from the position last week.
“On January 29, 2021, the Parler board controlled by Rebekah Mercer decided to immediately terminate my position as CEO of Parler.” Fox News reported, citing the memo. Matze said that he understood that those who are now in control of the company had “made some communications” to employees and third parties associated with the company that “caused confusion” and promted the statement.
As of Wednesday evening, it is currently unclear as to why Matze was fired by the board or who will now be running the company in his absence. Axios also reported that he did not participate in the decision to terminate him.
Matze said that he had faced “constant resistance” over his original vision of the platform, Fox News reported, with that resistance growing following the January 6 Capitol Hill riots. He said that his views regarding his interpretation of free speech as well as suggestions on how to moderate content sparked the resistance from board members.
Parler had initially said that they had found a new web host to house their content and other data, and was planning to make a comeback as early as February. However, according to Fox News, the company had to push back the relaunch due to new branding and changes inside of the company for company continuity.
“The future of Parler is no longer in my hands.” Matze wrote according to Fox News, offering his thanks and appreciation to supporters and employee for ther devotion and work to the company, while calling a number of them “his second family.”
Matze also posted the news of his termination onto LinkedIn, Axios reported, with Matze writing that the post was “Not a goodbye. Just a so-long for now.” He also told colleagues that he plans to take some time off before embarking on other endeavors.
Parler has been offline since early January, when Amazon Web Services removed them from their hosting servers, citing that the company had played a major role in inciting violence, as well as their alleged role in fueling the events on January 6. The company unsuccessfully sued Amazon to be restored on the service, with a judge ruling that Parler’s allegations were “inaccurate and unsupported.”
Parler had also been banned off of the Google play store and Apple’s app store following the Capitol Hill riots, with Apple initially issuing an 24-hour ultimatum for the company to implement strict content moderation policies or be removed from the store completely. After the company refused to implement the changes, the app was removed from the store.