Shortly after Kanye West stated “I like Hitler” on Alex Jones’ InfoWars show on Thursday, the right-wing social media site Parler announced that it had terminated a deal for West to buy the platform. Some Parler users—who claim they joined the pro-MAGA site to support the controversial rapper—are livid.
Parler announced the end of the deal on Twitter and on its own platform on Thursday, but claimed the decision had been made weeks earlier. “In response to numerous media inquiries, Parlement Technologies would like to confirm that the company has mutually agreed with Ye to terminate the intent of sale of Parler … This decision was made in the interest of both parties in mid-November. Parler will continue to pursue future opportunities for growth and the evolution of the platform for our vibrant community.
Still, the departure of West—who has been embroiled in scandal over his ongoing anti-Semitic comments—roiled Parler, which pitches itself as a conservative, censor-free alternative to Twitter. Every one of the most-liked replies to the Parler announcement expressed disappointment that the site would no longer be purchased by an open Holocaust denier.
“Free of speech my ass! I’m deleting my account! Hypocrisy is alive and well,” replied a Parler user whose previous posts were about cellphone games and befriending a Rubix cube while sitting alone in a hospital.
“No Ye? Then I’m out,” wrote one user. “I’m here because of Ye,” wrote another. “I’m only here because of Ye!!!” a third confirmed.
Also complaining in the comments section was an account for Christopher Cantwell, who became known as the “Crying Nazi” due to a video of him weeping over being sought by authorities for his participation in the deadly Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2021, Cantwell was sentenced to 41 months in prison for extortion and threats toward another neo-Nazi. A federal prisons registry shows a man of the same name and age in a residential reentry facility in Philadelphia, with a release date of Dec. 19. Cantwell’s public defender did not return a request for comment. “This is weak,” the neo-Nazi’s account says of Parler’s statement. “I had high hopes for Par-Ye.”
West’s latest dive into overt anti-Semitism has created discomfort on the right, which has previously welcomed the increasingly bigoted rapper. In championing West, conservatives were able to tacitly endorse some of his most extreme behavior—like donning a “white lives matter” shirt, as West did at Paris Fashion Week. Around that time, the Republican House Judiciary Committee tweeted, “Kanye. Elon. Trump.”
Even though Parler has ditched West’s ownership, its ties to the rapper extend beyond the aborted buyout. Parler’s CEO, George Farmer, is married to right-wing personality Candace Owens, who wore a “white lives matter” shirt with West in October.
But West’s determination to say the quiet part out loud forced some of his more mainstream backers to backtrack. During West’s Thursday appearance on InfoWars, even host Alex Jones stated that he “disagreed” with West’s “I love Hitler” comments. The GOP deleted its “Kanye. Elon. Trump.” tweet after the interview.
If Parler canceled its business deal with West “in mid-November,” that means the site was still in business with him (or at least declining to distance from him) when West announced that he was going “death con 3” on Jews. The site also remained silent when West hung around with neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes and suggested that far-right personality Milo Yiannopoulous would be the campaign manager for his 2024 election bid.
Parler has struggled after the Jan. 6 riot, during which Parler users posted live from their attack on the Capitol. West’s supposed purchase of the alt-tech platform was billed as a much-needed reboot. After announcing the deal in October, Parler went on a Ye-focused publicity blitz, sharing videos of Farmer endorsing the deal as mutually beneficial.
“Parler needs Ye in many ways because Parler needs its brand to expand and I think Ye is very interested in expanding his social media presence,” Farmer said in a video shared posted on the official Parler account.
The bid worked, at least for some Kanye superfans, who say they joined Parler for Kanye and are quitting for the same reason.
“Thank God, this was a shitty app anyway,” one user replied to Parler’s post. The user appears to have joined Parler the day West’s acquisition was announced, and follows only two other Parler accounts, one of which is West’s.
After announcing the purchase in October, Parler tried to highlight other celebrities who’d joined the site. The company posted about an account supposedly operated by Ray J, a rapper who was once romantically linked to West’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian.
“This new #Parler user really needs no intro. Welcome to the American singer, songwriter, rapper, actor, and entrepreneur, @rayj !”
The account now clarifies that it is only a fan tribute.
“Ray J (Fanpage),” the username reads.