Reddit Co-Founder Resigns From Board To Make Space For A Black Candidate

by Julie Scagell
Reddit Co-Founder Steps Down From Board, Urges To Fill His Seat With a Black Candidate (edited)
Paul Kane/Getty and Alexis Ohanian/Instagram

‘I’m writing this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks, ‘What did you do?”

Reddit co-founder and husband of Serena Williams, Alexis Ohanian, announced that he is resigning from the company’s board of directors and has asked that the board fill his seat with a black candidate.

“I’m writing this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks, ‘What did you do?'” Ohanian wrote in a blog post on Friday. “I have resigned as a member of the Reddit board. I have urged them to fill my seat with a black candidate, and I will use future gains on my Reddit stock to serve the black community, chiefly to curb racial hate, and I’m starting with a pledge of $1M to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.”

Reddit has been condemned in the past as a platform for spreading racism.

Ohanian’s resignation from the board comes on the heels of continued protests around the globe calling for the end of systemic racism and police brutality after the killing of George Floyd. Floyd was murdered by a former police officer in Minneapolis after the officer kneeled on his neck for almost 9 minutes.

The venture capitalist and father-of-one also said any future gains of his Reddit stock will be redirected to fighting against racial hate and supporting the black community. “It is long overdue to do the right thing. I’m doing this for me, for my family, and for my country,” he said.

“I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership from people in power right now,” Ohanian continued in a video on Instagram. “To everyone fighting to fix our broken nation: do not stop.”

Ohanian also said that he started the site to “help people find a community and a sense of belonging,” but in recent weeks, popular threads have been closed off from new posts and responses, and called for Reddit leadership to stop allowing hateful messaging to continue on the platform.

Former CEO Ellen Pao, who resigned after users fought the recent changes to ban certain material, called her former company out over its tolerance of bigotry and hate.

His departure from the popular social media site is a step in the right direction in calling out systemic racism, and while it doesn’t erase the rightful complaints about racist material being allowed on the site, it is progress.