Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigned from the online forum’s board Friday — and has urged his seat to be filled by a Black candidate.
Ohanian, who is married to tennis champion Serena Williams, made the move to resign from the Reddit board amid the social unrest sweeping through the United States, spurred by the death of George Floyd who was killed by Minneapolis police officers.
“It is long overdue to do the right thing,” he said. “I’m doing this for me, my family, and my country.”
Ohanian, who announced his resignation on social media platforms Instagram and Twitter, also pledged $1 million to the Know Your Rights Camp, founded by former NFL player and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick. The Reddit co-founder added that he will use the future gains of his Reddit stock to serve the Black community.
“I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership from people in power right now. To everyone fighting to fix our broken nation: Do not stop,” said Ohanian.
Ohanian’s resignation comes after moderators of several popular subreddits either went private or banned new posts in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao also recently called out current CEO Steve Huffman for keeping the controversial pro-Trump subreddit The_Donald online, albeit quarantined due to repeated violations against the online forum’s rules against hate speech.
Pao responded to an open letter from Huffman, where he said that Reddit does not “tolerate hate, racism, and violence, and while we have work to do to fight these on our platform, our values are clear.”
Shortly after Ohanian’s announcement, Huffman posted on Reddit that work has started with moderators to change the online forum’s policies “to explicitly address hate.”
The work will focus on three problems: racism against the Black community in parts of Reddit, the administrators’ unclear stand on racism, and the lack of “a real seat at the table” for moderators in helping shape the online’s forum’s policies.
“We are already working to fix these problems, and this is a promise for more urgency,” Huffman wrote. However, he also said that The_Donald should have been quarantined sooner, contrary to calls for its outright removal.
Updated to include Steve Huffman’s post on Reddit after Alexis Ohanian’s resignation.