CEO of Parler idolized blogger who said men should travel to Eastern Europe to find girlfriends

Fired Parler CEO John Matze wanted to be ‘the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg’, but instead ended up becoming the ‘Darth Vader of social media’, according to the man who gave him his first positions in tech.

Tech entrepreneur George Tu, 52, described the Parler co-founder, 27, as a fiercely ambitious young programmer who was largely non-political before he fell in with wealthy Republicans, for whom he reportedly built websites.

Matze was fired by Parler’s board on Wednesday just weeks after the controversial conservative social media platform was shut down over incendiary posts about the Capitol siege.

In a memo sent to staff first obtained by Fox News, Matze revealed he wasn’t involved in board director Rebekah Mercer’s decision to fire him, and explained how his ‘belief in free speech’ and vision for Parler had been met with ‘constant resistance’ over the past few months.     

The ousted CEO had made headlines in January after Google and Apple announced it had removed Parler from their app stores, and Amazon refused to host it on its servers for reportedly not doing enough to remove posts inciting violence from its users.  

Parler's ex-CEO John Matze, 27, wanted to be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg, according to George Tu, who gave Matze one of his first positions in tech

Parler's ex-CEO John Matze, 27, wanted to be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg, according to George Tu, who gave Matze one of his first positions in tech

Parler’s ex-CEO John Matze, 27, wanted to be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg, according to George Tu, who gave Matze one of his first positions in tech

According to Tu, Matze discussed the work of Roosh V (pictured), a controversial blogger linked to the alt-right who has been slammed for his misogynistic writings including advising American men to travel to Eastern Europe to find subservient girlfriends

According to Tu, Matze discussed the work of Roosh V (pictured), a controversial blogger linked to the alt-right who has been slammed for his misogynistic writings including advising American men to travel to Eastern Europe to find subservient girlfriends

According to Tu, Matze discussed the work of Roosh V (pictured), a controversial blogger linked to the alt-right who has been slammed for his misogynistic writings including advising American men to travel to Eastern Europe to find subservient girlfriends

Matze founded Parler in 2018 and the app, known as 'Twitter for conservatives' quickly became popular with Trump supporters

Matze founded Parler in 2018 and the app, known as 'Twitter for conservatives' quickly became popular with Trump supporters

Matze founded Parler in 2018 and the app, known as ‘Twitter for conservatives’ quickly became popular with Trump supporters

Matze founded Parler in 2018 and the app, known as ‘Twitter for conservatives’ quickly became popular with Trump supporters. 

Tu claims that Matze had discussed the work of Roosh V, a controversial blogger linked to the alt-right who has been criticized for his misogynistic writings including advising American men to travel to Eastern Europe to find subservient girlfriends.  

He said he first met Matze on a plane to Denver, Colorado in 2013, while Matze was still a computer science student at the University of Denver.

Tu was so impressed by Matze’s knowledge and enthusiasm for tech that two years later he offered him the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the startup he was forming in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tu, now the CEO of a tech startup called Zuzu.io, described Matze as a talented programmer who wasn’t much of a team player.

George Tu (pictured) described the Parler founder as a fiercely ambitious young programmer

George Tu (pictured) described the Parler founder as a fiercely ambitious young programmer

George Tu (pictured) described the Parler founder as a fiercely ambitious young programmer

‘His ambitions were just like anybody who wanted to be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg,’ he said.

‘He wanted to disrupt the industry and the vertical he was in.

‘He wasn’t much of a team player – he harbored a lot of his own ambitions and he wasn’t very forthright.

‘It’s really sad that Parler has become this platform where people are espousing violence.

‘Google, Amazon, Apple – John has managed to p*** everybody off. He’s literally become the Darth Vader of social media.’

He added that Matze always struck him as apolitical until he began socializing with rich Republicans and building websites that attracted them in droves.

‘He never really talked about politics. I was surprised to see him become this libertarian, free speech person.

‘But he had a relative in Vegas who introduced him to these very wealthy, conservative, right-wing GOP people who invited him to mansions in Florida and he worked on their websites.

Matze hit headlines last week after his social media app Parler was effectively shut down when Google and Apple removed it from their app stores and Amazon refused to host it on its servers for reportedly not doing enough to remove posts inciting violence from its users

Matze hit headlines last week after his social media app Parler was effectively shut down when Google and Apple removed it from their app stores and Amazon refused to host it on its servers for reportedly not doing enough to remove posts inciting violence from its users

Matze hit headlines last week after his social media app Parler was effectively shut down when Google and Apple removed it from their app stores and Amazon refused to host it on its servers for reportedly not doing enough to remove posts inciting violence from its users

Tu said he first met Matze on a plane to Denver, Colorado in 2013, while Matze was still a computer science student at the University of Denver. Tu shared Matze's 2015 resume in which he described himself as a software engineer who enjoys golf, motorcycles and snowboarding and listed upmarket ski destination Vail as his favorite resort

Tu said he first met Matze on a plane to Denver, Colorado in 2013, while Matze was still a computer science student at the University of Denver. Tu shared Matze's 2015 resume in which he described himself as a software engineer who enjoys golf, motorcycles and snowboarding and listed upmarket ski destination Vail as his favorite resort

Tu said he first met Matze on a plane to Denver, Colorado in 2013, while Matze was still a computer science student at the University of Denver. Tu shared Matze’s 2015 resume in which he described himself as a software engineer who enjoys golf, motorcycles and snowboarding and listed upmarket ski destination Vail as his favorite resort

Tu provided emails that indicate Matze's involvement in the short-lived project

Tu provided emails that indicate Matze's involvement in the short-lived project

Tu provided emails that indicate Matze’s involvement in the short-lived project

Tu was so impressed by Matze's knowledge and enthusiasm for tech that two years later he offered him the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the startup he was forming in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tu was so impressed by Matze's knowledge and enthusiasm for tech that two years later he offered him the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the startup he was forming in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tu was so impressed by Matze’s knowledge and enthusiasm for tech that two years later he offered him the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the startup he was forming in Las Vegas, Nevada

‘He was aghast at the luxury lifestyle he saw there. It was very different from how I knew him.

‘He lived with his best friend Jared Thomson [the cofounder of Parler] in an apartment, which was nothing to brag about.’

Tu claimed Matze was fascinated by the work of Roosh V, a blogger and former pickup artist connected with the alt right who has been slammed for his misogynistic writings.

He had went on the record advocating for women to be banned from voting, describing a woman’s value as dependent on her ‘fertility and beauty’, and stating that women with eating disorders make the best girlfriends. 

Roosh V has been accused of anti-Semitism and promoting rape in his blog posts and books – his first book was published in 2007 and titled Bang: The Pickup Bible That Helps You Get More Lays.

DailyMail.com photographed the blogger back in 2016, revealing he was living in his mother’s basement. 

Tu said: ‘On the plane when we met, John mentioned Roosh V, this blogger who gained notoriety on the internet for encouraging men to travel to eastern European countries to get into relationships with the women there.

‘The idea was that men could be the old-fashioned patriarch in their relationships. John was fascinated by it.

‘And I always wondered whether that was one of the things that drew John to Russia.

‘He was obsessed with Russia and he traveled there extensively. John’s type was always Russian women.

‘I did meet a girlfriend in late 2015 who was Russian. I don’t know if it was Alina, his current wife.

‘I can’t remember what the woman said her name was, it was a long time ago.’

Tu said Matze 'was obsessed with Russia and he traveled there extensively. John's type was always Russian women.' He added: 'I did meet a girlfriend in late 2015 who was Russian. I don't know if it was Alina, his current wife. 'I can't remember what the woman said her name was, it was a long time ago.' Pictured: Matze with his wife Alina and their child

Tu said Matze 'was obsessed with Russia and he traveled there extensively. John's type was always Russian women.' He added: 'I did meet a girlfriend in late 2015 who was Russian. I don't know if it was Alina, his current wife. 'I can't remember what the woman said her name was, it was a long time ago.' Pictured: Matze with his wife Alina and their child

Tu said Matze ‘was obsessed with Russia and he traveled there extensively. John’s type was always Russian women.’ He added: ‘I did meet a girlfriend in late 2015 who was Russian. I don’t know if it was Alina, his current wife. ‘I can’t remember what the woman said her name was, it was a long time ago.’ Pictured: Matze with his wife Alina and their child

DailyMail.com photographed the blogger back in 2016, revealing he was living in his mother's basement.

DailyMail.com photographed the blogger back in 2016, revealing he was living in his mother's basement.

DailyMail.com photographed the blogger back in 2016, revealing he was living in his mother’s basement.

Supporters loyal to President Donald Trump clash with authorities before successfully breaching the Capitol building during a riot on the grounds

Supporters loyal to President Donald Trump clash with authorities before successfully breaching the Capitol building during a riot on the grounds

Supporters loyal to President Donald Trump clash with authorities before successfully breaching the Capitol building during a riot on the grounds

Matze reportedly married Russian Alina Mukhutdinova after meeting her on her two week road trip around the United States.

Tu said he immediately spotted Matze’s talent when they met on the plane.

‘We just really hit it off, we were just two nerds talking,’ Tu said.

‘I found him to be fascinating and intelligent. I went back to him and I recruited him as part of my tech startup.’

The startup, which never got off the ground, was intended to help companies handle their customer service using text messaging.

Tu provided emails that indicate Matze’s involvement in the short-lived project as well as sharing Matze’s 2015 resume in which he described himself as a software engineer who enjoys golf, motorcycles and snowboarding and listed upmarket ski destination Vail as his favorite resort.

In one email, Matze listed 12 apps he wanted to build including an employee tracker app which would allow employers to track their workers’ locations using GPS.

Just three years later Matze went on to form Parler, a social media site that, up until recently, had around 10 million users.

Matze has blamed co-founder Rebekah Mercer, pictured with her father Robert in 2017, for his firing as CEO

Matze has blamed co-founder Rebekah Mercer, pictured with her father Robert in 2017, for his firing as CEO

Matze has blamed co-founder Rebekah Mercer, pictured with her father Robert in 2017, for his firing as CEO

‘It was an incredible, stellar rise,’ said Tu. ‘His trajectory was unbelievable.’

Tu reached out to his old friend last year but said Matze never responded to his email, saying: ‘I guess he got too big to reach out to his past colleagues and old friends.’

Although Matze has questioned whether Parler will ever return online, Tu insisted that Matze will bounce back.

‘He’s very resilient. I’m sure he’ll bounce back from this.’  

Matze addressed his firing on Wednesday, blaming Parler co-founder Rebekah Mercer, the 47-year-old heiress who hired and then fired Steve Bannon at Breitbart, and controls the board. 

Parler was founded in 2018 by Mercer, John Matze and his college friend Jared Thomson. 

In a memo Matze sent out to staff this week, first obtained by Fox News, he pointedly said that the decision was made by a board ‘controlled by Rebekah Mercer’. 

‘I did not participate in this decision,’ Matze wrote. 

‘I understand that those who now control the company have made some communications to employees and other third parties that have unfortunately created confusion and prompted me to make this public statement.’ 

‘Over the past few months, I’ve met constant resistance to my product vision, my strong belief in free speech and my view of how the Parler site should be managed. 

‘For example, I advocated for more product stability and what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation,’ he added.  

Matze told staff he had been working ‘endless hours and fought constant battles’ to get the website back up and running, ‘but at this point, the future of Parler is no longer in my hands.’

He went on to announce his plans to take a few weeks off before searching for a new role. 

‘After that, I’ll be looking for new opportunities where my technical acumen, vision and the causes I am passionate about will be required and respected,’ he wrote. 

‘I want to thank all the people of Parler that supported me and the platform. 

‘This has been the true American Dream: an idea from a living room to a company of considerable value. I’m not saying goodbye, just so long for now.’  

John Matze’s memo to staff 

On January 29, 2021, the Parler board controlled by Rebekah Mercer decided to immediately terminate my position as CEO of Parler. I did not participate in this decision.

I understand that those who now control the company have made some communications to employees and other third parties that have unfortunately created confusion and prompted me to make this public statement.

Over the past few months, I’ve met constant resistance to my product vision, my strong belief in free speech and my view of how the Parler site should be managed. For example, I advocated for more product stability and what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation.

I have worked endless hours and fought constant battles to get the Parler site running but at this point, the future of Parler is no longer in my hands.

I want to thank the Parler employees, the people on Parler and Parler supporters for their tireless work and devotion to the company. They are an amazing group of diverse, hardworking and talented individuals and I have the utmost respect for them. Many of them have become my second family.

After that, I’ll be looking for new opportunities where my technical acumen, vision and the causes I am passionate about will be required and respected.

I want to thank all the people of Parler that supported me and the platform. This has been the true American Dream: an idea from a living room to a company of considerable value.

I’m not saying goodbye, just so long for now.

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