Alexis Ohanian steps down from Reddit board

Ohanian calls on Reddit to elect a black board member to his seat

Alexis Ohanian, founder and former CEO of Reddit, announced he was stepping down from Reddit’s board on Friday.

Ohanian is urging Reddit to elect a black board member to replace him. As part of his resignation, Ohanian also announced he would use future gains from his Reddit stock to serve the black community in a meaningful way.

Ohanian announced his resignation on Twitter. In a statement posted to his website, he expanded on the reasoning behind his resignation, explaining it’s “long overdue to do the right thing.” 

“I am doing this for me, for my family and for my country,” Ohanian shared in a video posted to Twitter. “I am saying this as a father who needs to answer his black daughter when she asks, ‘What did you do.’”

Ohanian added he will also be using future gains from his Reddit stock to “curb racial hate.” At this time, Ohanian has pledged $1 million to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp legal defense initiative.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey previously donated $3 million to the charity to “to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization to elevate the next generation of change leaders.”

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman responded to Ohanian’s resignation, stating the company planned to honor Ohanian’s wishes of having a black candidate take his place on the board. Huffman added Reddit would also put forth a significant effort to address hate speech plaguing the platform.

“There is an unacceptable gap between our beliefs as people and a company, and what you see in Reddit’s content policy,” Huffman said. 

Users of Reddit have come out in support of Ohanian’s resignation and have since called on the company to not only honor Ohanian’s request but to do so within three months, believing this isn’t an “issue that should be put off for action years down the road.”

Reddit has lacked diversity among its ranks for some time. In 2015, turmoil within the company led to the resignation of its interim CEO, Ellen Pao. Within six months of Pao’s resignation, more than a dozen senior Reddit employees, several of them women and people of color left the company too.

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