The exact fee has not yet been disclosed, but the deal is reportedly expected to be concluded before the end of the year.
In a statement, Kanye West, who last year legally changed his name to Ye, said: “In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves.”
George Farmer, meanwhile, the chief executive of Parler’s parent company, Parlement Technologies, added that the deal “will change the world, and change the way the world thinks about free speech.”
“Ye is making a groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again,” he added.
Ye’s latest move comes after his Twitter and Instagram accounts were suspended for posting antisemitic comments; for tweeting that he was going “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE” and for suggesting the rapper Puff Daddy was controlled by Jewish people, an antisemitic trope, on his Instagram.
The 45-year-old also stoked further controversy recently, for wearing a long-sleeve t-shirt which bore the slogan ‘White Lives Matter’ at the YZY SZN 9 showcase in Paris. The phrase has become popular among alt- and- far-right extremists in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and has been deemed a “hate slogan” by the Anti-Defamation League.
Over the weekend, too, Ye appeared on the YouTube channel Drink Champs, where he made further antisemitic conspiracies and questioned the cause of George Floyd’s death, despite the murder conviction of police offer Derek Chauvin by a Minnesota court. Floyd’s family have since said they are considering legal action of Ye’s comments.
Parler, the platform he’s now set to buy, is no stranger to controversy too. Following the riots on the US Capitol at the start of last year, the site was removed from Apple and Google app stores before it was removed entirely by Amazon Web Services. Plans for the attack in Washington D.C. had been widely disseminated and discussed on the platform.
It has since been re-added to both app stores, although has to apply content moderation, and currently has around 16 million registered users and between 700,000 and a million active monthly users.
Researchers at Stanford University have also previously reported that “spam, financial fraud and porn accounts” prominently feature on the social media site.
Farmer, 32, meanwhile, the son of Conservative Party peer Michael Farmer, is an Oxford University graduate and former Bullingdon Club member who is married to pro-Trump US conservative commentator Candace Owens. Owens was also recently seen with Ye in Paris, wearing a matching ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt.
Farmer replaced the social media platform’s founder John Matze as chief executive following the Capitol riots. Investors in the company also include right-wing heiress Rebekah Mercer, daughter of billionaire hedge fund manager and prominent Breitbart News donor, Robert Mercer.
In total, Farmer has pulled in some $56 million for the company in total, reports The Times, in a bid to rejuvenate the Parler’s fortunes following the riots.
And now the company has a new buyer: Kanye West.