Former Parler CEO John Matze has revealed that he feels "betrayed" by Rebekah Mercer, an investor who helped fund the social media platform back in 2018, Axios reports.
According to the media outlet, Matze explained that he first met Mercer while doing IT consulting for her father, hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer.
"She seemed very nice... and I don't judge anybody by the press that I see," he remarked.
Rebekah Mercer eventually became Parler’s controlling shareholder, with Matze noting that "she and her people began getting more operationally involved as the site gained traction around the 2020 presidential election," as the media outlet put it.
Last summer, however, was reportedly marked by a disagreement over how "violence" should be defined in Parler’s terms of service, with internal conflicts intensifying around 6 January when the social media platform’s popularity peaked.
As Matze explained, his attempts to advocate for moderation as "a way to get Parler back online," following Amazon suspending the platform from its web hosting services, were met with resistance, and on 29 January he was fired by email.
"I thought I knew her. She invited my family on trips with them and everything. I thought that she was, generally speaking, I thought she was being real. And then she just abruptly has her people fire me and doesn't even talk to me about it," Matze complained. "I feel like it was a stab in the back by somebody that I thought I knew. And so for me, you know, I would never do business with her again."
Parler’s suspension was announced by Amazon on 10 January, with the latter citing a "very real risk to public safety," after the media claimed that the protesters at the Capitol had used Parler to coordinate their actions.
Originally set for the beginning of February, Parler’s re-launch was delayed, with it now only displaying a static page informing users about the current state of the platform.