Ex-Parler CEO said he didn't want the platform to work with Trump because the president might have 'bullied' employees into doing what he wanted

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Ex-Parler CEO said he didn't want the platform to work with Trump because the president might have 'bullied' employees into doing what he wanted
Parler CEO John Matze and President Donald Trump, who Matze has said considered making an account on the controversial social-media platform.Fox News, Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
  • John Matze, the former CEO of Parler, told "Axios on HBO" that he didn't want to work with Trump.
  • He said he was concerned that Trump would have "bullied" employees into doing what he wanted.
  • BuzzFeed News reported that Parler had offered Trump a 40% stake to become his go-to platform.

John Matze, the former CEO of Parler, said during an interview with "Axios on HBO" that he didn't want the social-media platform to work with Donald Trump.

"I didn't like the idea of working with Trump, because he might have bullied people inside the company to do what he wanted," Matze said in the interview, which took place on Thursday and aired on Sunday.

"But I was worried that if we didn't sign the deal, he might have been vengeful and told his followers to leave Parler," Matze added.

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Parler, which has very limited content moderation, became popular among Trump supporters and far-right figures following the election in November. Trump frequently complained about Twitter adding fact-check labels to his tweets, but he never made a verified Parler account.

Read more: How Google finally decided to remove Parler after months of flagging the app's harmful content

Matze also told Axios he didn't know why Trump never joined the platform given his complaints about Twitter and Facebook, both of which booted him in January for violating their terms.

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BuzzFeed News reported on Friday that Parler had offered the Trump Organization a 40% stake in exchange for Trump making the app his go-to social-media platform.

The deal, said to have been discussed last summer and after Trump lost the election, would have required Trump to post on Parler four hours before reposting the content on other platforms and to link back to Parler, BuzzFeed News reported.

Matze told Axios only that the negotiations over the summer did not get very far.

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Trump's business interests during his presidency raised questions about whether he was using his office for personal financial gain.

A law professor told BuzzFeed News that the Parler deal could have violated anti-bribery laws because Parler would have given Trump something of value in exchange for control over his official statements.

Parler's board fired Matze last week. Following the insurrection at the US Capitol last month, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores, and Amazon stopped hosting it, citing insufficient moderation of violent content.

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