EXCLUSIVE -- Parler CEO John Matze blasted elected officials, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who recently called for the censorship of his social media platform and proclaimed it "sick" and "evil."
The CEO said critics like Ocasio-Cortez don't understand what America stands for.
Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., recently urged Apple and Google to take action against Parler, in a tweet the leader of the so-called "Squad" of progressives sent to her 11.4 million followers. Ocasio-Cortez isn’t alone. Many people on the left have made similar complaints.
"I think it’s sick," Matze told Fox News. "That’s not what the Constitution said. That’s not what the Constitution stands for, banning 10-plus million U.S. voters from the internet, barring people from free speech. When people do things like that, it shows that they don’t understand the meaning of the Constitution or this country and what it stands for."
While Matze doesn’t appreciate elected officials calling for his company to be silenced, he found himself at the center of the news cycle when Google and Apple removed Parler from their app stores and Amazon Web Services cut off Parler from its web hosting services in the wake of the Capitol riot.
Parler is a non-partisan company, but it had become a refuge for Trump supporters and others who have been either kicked off Facebook and Twitter or have left those social networks in protest.
Parler filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Monday after Amazon Web Services' decision to suspend Parler from its cloud hosting service following last week's deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Parler is seeking a temporary restraining order to keep Amazon Web Services from blackballing Parler and claims Amazon Web Services is violating the Sherman Antitrust Act in the filing.
Matze feels that the tech giants simply caved to liberals who called for his company to be silenced.
"Frankly, I would call it evil, because my definition of evil is ‘forcing your will upon others,’ he said. "If you don’t like what I have to say, you can disagree with me, but you cannot take vindictive action against me without being evil."
Matze has since vowed that Parler will return in the near future with the necessary tweaks to keep everybody safe while still advocating for free speech and respecting the privacy of users.
The newfound spotlight on Matze, who has been inundated with requests from reporters, has also resulted in threats against him.
"There is a group called UGNazi that is targeting me," Matze said, noting the controversial hacker group has released many of his passwords and personal information on the internet. "They published my street address, they threatened to come through my front door."
He usually doesn’t take threats directed at him too seriously, he said. But this time he’s gone into hiding with his family.
He isn’t sure when he’ll return home, saying he’s taking things "day-by-day," but thinks being away from his usual routine amid the chaos surrounding his company could actually be having a positive impact.
"It’s probably leveled me out," Matze said. "If I was at home right now I think my stress levels would have been like three times higher… at least there is that saving grace."