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Ye Says He Bought Parler Because Instagram, Twitter Penalized Him

Ye Says He Bought Parler Because Instagram, Twitter Penalized Him

(Bloomberg) -- Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, said he was motivated to acquire the conservative social media service Parler by his belief that existing platforms like Instagram and Twitter are too restrictive when it comes to user speech.

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“When I got kicked off of Instagram and Twitter at the time, I knew it was time to acquire my own platform,” Ye said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Monday. “People had talked about it and mentioned this idea for years, but enough was enough.”

The rapper and designer was recently restricted from posting on some major social media platforms for violating their content policies. Twitter Inc. removed an anti-Semitic post from Ye last week and locked his account just a day after he had returned to the platform for the first time in nearly two years. Meta Platforms Inc.’s Instagram also deleted posts over anti-Semitic language.

Ye said Parler is for people like him, who have been penalized by much bigger platforms.

“We’re using this as a net for the people who have been bullied by the thought police to come and speak their mind,” he said. “Express how you feel. Express what’s tied up inside of you. Express what’s been haunting you. I use social media as my therapist.”

Billionaire Elon Musk, who has an agreement to buy Twitter for $44 billion, says he spoke with Ye last week after Twitter froze his account. Ye said Musk didn’t advise him on buying Parler in that conversation, and he came to the decision on his own.

Ye said he is planning to have dinner with former US President Donald Trump this week, and will invite him onto Parler. Ye said he’ll join Trump’s own alternative network, Truth Social, too. He has not yet decided if owning Parler means he will fully abandon other social networks, like Instagram and Twitter, saying he plans to speak with his advisors about that.

“The most important resource that our species has is knowledge,” Ye added. “This is the reason why the compression of thought and free thought has to be overcome to save the human race. It’s literally that serious. And that’s the reason why I am willing to put everything at risk because they’ve already taken enough from me for differences of opinion.”

Ye has been at odds with corporate America, scorning his business partners in order to branch out on his own. His apparel deal with Gap Inc. is winding down after disagreements between the two parties and his sneaker arrangement with Adidas AG has been placed under review by the German athletic-wear maker. He also had a dust-up with bank executives at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Ye declined to share the terms of the agreement. An unaudited balance sheet of his finances reviewed by Bloomberg last year showed that he had $122 million in cash and stock at the time, with billions more in other assets including his lucrative Yeezy business. His company made nearly $191 million in royalties from the Adidas deal in 2020, Bloomberg previously reported.

(Updates with additional comments in the eighth paragraph.)

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