Kanye West says he’s buying Parler, the right-wing social media app that bills itself as an “uncancelable free speech platform” and known for its lax moderation policies. The move comes a little more than a week after Instagram restricted West, who legally changed his name to Ye, on the platform and Twitter locked him out of his account. Both platforms took action after the artist spewed antisemitic comments.
Parler parent company Parlement Technologies announced the news in a press release on Monday morning. In the release, Parlement said that it had entered in an agreement “in principle” to sell Parler to Ye and expects to settle on a “definitive purchase agreement” and close the deal later this year. The amount of the sale was not disclosed. Under the deal, Parlement would continue to provide Parler with technical support and cloud services.
According to Parlement, Ye’s decision to buy Parler is a “bold stance against his recent censorship from Big Tech.” The company added that the artist will use his talents to lead the fight to “create a truly non-cancelable environment.”
“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” Ye said in the press release.
In an interview with Bloomberg, the artist said he was motivated to acquire Parler when he was locked out of Instagram and Twitter. Ye explained that his platform would be for “for the people who have been bullied by the thought police to come and speak their mind,” the outlet reported.
What Does Ye and Parler’s Agreement “In Principle” Mean?
Don’t add Parler to Ye’s list of businesses so fast, though. Just because Ye is saying that he’s buying Parler doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. Parlement’s press release included various references to an agreement “in principle,” which is basically a preliminary agreement, according to Elizabeth Sloan, an attorney and partner at Ballard Spahr. While it indicates more than an intention to purchase, it is not a final contract, she said.
“It is where the parties have negotiated the material terms of an agreement. Ideally, those terms would form the basis of a formal, written contract,” Sloan told Gizmodo via email. “An agreement in principle, though, is generally not binding.”
Sloan explained that an agreement in principle doesn’t have to be written down. It also doesn’t require for the parties to sign a term sheet. However, for these types of deals and for larger deals, agreements are often put down in writing and signed, the Ballard Spahr lawyer said. In this case, it’s not clear how the agreement in principle has been handled.
Overall, the Ballard Spahr lawyer pointed out that there isn’t a lot known about the agreement, which makes it difficult to comment on the legal aspects of it. She added that the lack of information makes it hard to know when the deal will close.
“Whether it is close to being final is unclear right now. Sometimes the agreement [in principle] is very detailed, which could mean a final contract could be forthcoming quickly. But, that isn’t necessary. And, the parties could take their time to finalize a contract,” the lawyer explained.
Parler’s Response to Ye’s Decision to Purchase
On Monday, Parlement CEO George Farmer said that he welcomed Ye to the fight for free speech. Farmer is the husband of Candace Owens, the right-wing commentator recently pictured with West in matching “White Lives Matter” shirts.
“This deal will change the world, and change the way the world thinks about free speech. Ye is making a groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again,” Farmer said. “Once again, Ye proves that he is one step ahead of the legacy media narrative. Parlement will be honored to help him achieve his goals.”
Parler published a post about the sale to Ye on the platform on Monday.
Additionally, Parlement’s press release included a link to Ye’s profile on Parler, which was created on Monday and had 526 followers at the time of publication. As of Wednesday, the account had 17,500 followers.
In an embarrassing faux pas, Parler accidentally revealed the email addresses more than 300 of its VIP users, including Ivanka Trump and Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, when it sent them an excited email about the agreement, CNN reported. Instead of BCC’ing the recipients, Parler put them in CC.
Earlier this month, Instagram and Twitter took action against Ye’s antisemitic comments and account because the artist violated their policies. Jewish advocacy groups condemned the artist’s antisemitic comments, which invoked tropes like Jewish control and greed, and said that his words were dangerous and fomented hatred against Jews.
Gizmodo reached out to Parler for comment on Monday morning and to ask how much Ye had offered for Parler but did not hear back.
Update 10/17/2022, 8:21 a.m. ET: This post has been updated to include screenshots from Parler’s announcement and additional details on the proposed deal.
Update 10/18/2022, 5:10 p.m. ET: This post has been updated with comment from Sloan and Ye’s comments to Bloomberg. It also now includes Parler’s public email to its VIP users.