Parler’s ex-CEO John Matze has sued the conservative-friendly social media site, claiming he was unlawfully forced out of his position and that his ownership stake in the platform was stolen from him by rivals within the firm.
Matze filed his suit on Monday in a Nevada state court, accusing several higher-ups at Parler of breach of contract, conversion – or when one party takes control of another party’s property with the intent of changing ownership – unlawful firing, defamation, and conspiracy to commit each of those offenses.
Primarily targeting a high-profile conservative donor and Parler partner Rebekah Mercer, the legal challenge comes after Matze was abruptly ousted from the CEO role earlier this year, which he claims was part of a scheme to deprive him of his 40% ownership stake in Parler, a company now worth millions.
“Rebekah Mercer sought to co-opt [Parler] as a symbol or as the ‘tip of the spear’ for her brand of conservatism, and plotted to force Matze out as CEO, manager, and member, and steal his 40% ownership interest,” Matze’s court filing reads.
“This scheme is epitomized by oppression, fraud and malice, for which Matze is entitled to punitive damages trebling the millions (at a minimum) that he is owed in compensatory damages.“