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Parler CEO says board terminated his position: report

Parler CEO John Matze said he had been dismissed by the board of the social media platform in a memo first obtained by Fox News.

"On January 29, 2021, the Parler board controlled by Rebekah Mercer decided to immediately terminate my position as CEO of Parler. I did not participate in this decision," Matze wrote, according to the network. "I understand that those who now control the company have made some communications to employees and other third parties that have unfortunately created confusion and prompted me to make this public statement."

Mercer, an heiress to a hedge fund fortune known for donations to right-wing causes, has also been a benefactor to Breitbart and its former chairman Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonThere was Trump-Russia collusion — and Trump pardoned the colluder MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Trump denies Gaetz asked him for blanket pardon MORE, a former Trump White House adviser.

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Parler billed itself as an unmoderated alternative to Twitter and drew heavy traffic from the far right, particularly those banned from Twitter.

However, after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, both Apple and Google removed it from their respective app stores amid reports it had been used to coordinate the riots. Amazon Web Services announced it would pull its hosting of the platform unless it developed a content moderation policy, and the site went offline Jan. 10.

In the memo, Matze claimed that he had pushed for “what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation” as CEO, but “at this point, the future of Parler is no longer in my hands.”

Matze did not specify next steps in the memo, saying only that he intended to take a short break and "after that, I’ll be looking for new opportunities where my technical acumen, vision and the causes I am passionate about will be required and respected."

In a statement to The Hill, Parler Chief Content Officer Amy Peikoff confirmed Patze's termination but said his description of the circumstances has "been inaccurate and misleading."

"The owners and managers of the company worked tirelessly to build a resilient, non-partisan platform dedicated to freedom of expression, civil discourse, and user privacy," Peikoff said. "That has been and continues to be our vision, and any assertions to the contrary are false, as can be shown by the record and evidence.

Updated at 3:57 p.m.