Ye’s upcoming purchase of the right-wing social media platform Parler could help smuggle far-right ideals into the growing Black conservative movement, an author and media researcher tells TYT.
Parlement Technologies, Parler’s newly minted-parent company, announced the pending acquisition of the foundering app and website to the rapper formerly known as Kanye West this morning.
Author Brandi Collins-Dexter, associate director of research at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, told TYT that Ye is abetting far-right actors such as “crypto-fascists,” who hide their extremism from the public and their allies. She said that Ye has “positioned himself as a gateway, bringing together a series of seemingly disconnected ideas drawn from Black nationalists, new age born-again Christians, incels, and crypto-fascists, among others.”
Parlement’s CEO is George Farmer, husband of Candace Owens, another polarizing Black conservative figure, and an acquaintance of Ye. Farmer said this morning on Fox Business that the sale is part of something bigger, as Parlement focuses on developing a computer-service infrastructure for what he calls “the patriot economy.”
Today’s sale announcement came just one week after Ye was locked out of his Twitter and Instagram accounts for antisemitic posts. Ye is no stranger to controversy for his MAGA views and, more recently, for making false claims regarding the death of George Floyd.
Collins-Dexter suggested that Ye’s purchase of Parler may help push White nationalist values further into the conservative mainstream, using Ye’s Black celebrity status as validation.
Collins-Dexter, whose book “Black Skinhead: Reflections on Blackness and Our Political Future” examines far-right viewpoints among African Americans, called the sale to Ye “an obvious attempt by Owens and her husband to offload a junk asset.”
The ownership of its parent, Parlement Technologies, remains unknown. But Parler has been funded in the past by Rebekah Mercer, a Christian supremacist Republican megadonor who has also invested in the far-right website Breitbart.
Farmer isn’t disclosing how much money Parlement will get from Ye for Parler. But Collins-Dexter suggested they’re getting something else, too.
“We are seeing a record number of Black conservatives running for office. Undoubtedly, figures like Candace Owens and Kanye West are trying to position themselves as leaders of that movement,” Collins-Dexter said.
“Ye’s intended purchase of Parler continues to reinforce what happens when an insidious astroturfed movement — powered by grifters like Candace Owens and built on a number of grievance-based factions from the dark corners of the web — uses celebrity access to launder white nationalist rhetoric on the back of a burgeoning Black conservative movement,” she said.
“[T]raditional media outlets should not conflate the two,” she warned.
Parler shut down last year after Amazon stopped providing its computing services in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Farmer told Fox Business that Parlement Technologies aims to free right-wing companies from reliance on Amazon and other mainstream corporations. Parlement got $16 million in funding last month. And Ye’s purchase of Parler obliges him to pay Parlement for support and cloud services.
Parler’s future since its return online remains murky, given uncertainties elsewhere in the market. Twitter’s on-and-off suitor Elon Musk has suggested he might let former Pres. Donald Trump back on that platform. Trump also has his own, struggling social-media platform, Truth Social, leaving Parler’s market even less clear.
According to data collected by the web traffic analysis firm Similarweb, Parler receives only 1.2 million visits per month, far fewer than the 13 million received by Gab, another website for far-right internet users. By comparison, Similarweb data indicates Twitter receives around 7 billion visits per month.
Ye has been an active MAGA Republican since Trump took office and has announced several times his own ambitions for running for president.
TYT Washington Correspondent Candice Cole was previously a correspondent and senior White House producer for the Black News Channel and has worked at a number of local news outlets. You can find her on Twitter @CandiceColeNews.
TYT National Correspondent Matthew Sheffield reports about politics, media, and technology. Follow him on Twitter: @mattsheffield.