US rapper Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, has proposed buying Parler, the social media platform popular with US conservatives, parent Parlement Technologies said on Monday.
Nashville-based Parler, which has raised about $56 million in the U.S. to date, said it expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter of 2022. It did not put a value on the deal.
The deal comes as Parler, which launched in 2018 and designed itself as a free speech space for those seeking an alternative to platforms like Twitter, has been reinstated on Google and Apple’s app stores after being removed following the US Capitol riots in January 2021.
Ye, who is also a fashion designer, has in recent weeks ended his collaboration with clothing retailer Gap, while German sporting goods manufacturer Adidas has reviewed its business partnership with the rapper.
The rapper has also had issues with major social media platforms, and has been restricted a number of times.
Banned from Instagram, Twitter accounts
Most recently, West was locked out of his Instagram account by Facebook parent Meta Platforms for posts that were condemned as anti-Semitic. He then moved to Twitter and posted for the first time in two years.
“In a world where conservative views are considered controversial, we must ensure that we have the right to freely express ourselves,” Ye said in a statement.
“This agreement will change the world and change the way the world thinks about free speech,” Parlement Technologies CEO George Farmer said in Monday’s announcement of the agreement.
“You are making a groundbreaking move into the free media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again.”
Ye appeared to have joined Parler on Monday and had about 91 followers at the time of the announcement.
The American rapper had announced in 2020 that he would run for President of the United States, but later withdrew.
Parler has also received traction from supporters of Trump.
Last month, Parler created its new parent company, Parlement Technologies, as part of an overhaul.