Popular social news website, Reddit’s co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, has announced that he’s quitting the company’s board. He asked to be replaced by a black candidate, showing support for the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in the United States (US). Ohanian announced his resignation via a video on Instagram and through a series of tweets.
“I co-founded @reddit 15 years ago to help people find community and a sense of belonging. It is long overdue to do the right thing. I’m doing this for me, for my family, and for my country,” he wrote on Twitter. Ohanian also said that he will be using future gains from his stock to “serve the black community”. “ I’m saying this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: ‘What did you do?’,” he said.
Ohanian’s resignation also comes less than a week after former Reddit CEO, Ellen Pao, called out the current CEO, Steve Huffman, for not shutting down a subreddit promoting US President Donald Trump through the platform. Pao was quoting a letter sent out by Huffman to sent out to employees saying the platform doesn’t tolerate hate, violence and racism.
“I am obligated to call you out: You should have shut down the_donald instead of amplifying it and its hate, racism, and violence. So much of what is happening now lies at your feet. You don’t get to say BLM when reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long,” Pao wrote on Twitter.
The platform’s stance of not banning Trump’s posts have also been called out by various Reddit users and groups. The platform itself is known to be a free speech advocate and has often been used by various protestors and groups to amplify their message through social channels.
Ohanian, who is married to tennis star Serena Williams, said resignation can be an “act of leadership” and urged protestors to not stop fighting for their cause.
Reddit is not the first social media platform to face criticism for its stance during these protests. While platforms like Twitter and Snapchat have moved to put warning labels and stop promoting Trump’s account, respectively, some others have taken no action. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg is amongst people in tech who has refused to ban or block Trump’s accounts. Facebook employees recently staged walkouts in protests of the same, but Zuckerberg has stood firm on his stance.