Reddit Interim CEO Ellen Pao Quits Following Online Revolt

Reddit Interim CEO Ellen Pao Quits Following Online Revolt

The CEO of Reddit, Ellen Pao, has resigned from the Internet Forum amid a Reddit backlash due to the firing of employee Victoria Taylor.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

Last week Reddit users began revolting after Taylor was sacked without explanation. Taylor was one of the employees managing the site’s streams AMA (Ask Me Anything).

Since Taylor’s departure many areas of the subbreddit shut down in protest, and per US publication Mashable a petition had started to try and get Pao to resign. The petition has reportedly gathered more than 200,000 signatures.

Of her resignation after eight months as CEO, Pao took to the forum to explain her reasons for leaving and calling on users to remember that everyone is fallible.

“In my eight months as reddit’s CEO, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly on reddit. The good has been off-the-wall inspiring, and the ugly made me doubt humanity,” said Pao in the post.

“I just want to remind everyone that I am just another human; I have a family, and I have feelings. Everyone attacked on reddit is just another person like you and me. When people make something up to attack me or someone else, it spreads, and we eventually will see it. And we will feel bad, not just about what was said. Also because it undercuts the authenticity of Reddit and shakes our faith in humanity.”

Pao praised the positives of Reddit in her leaving post, the stories that inspired her and gave her hope.

“So why am I leaving? Ultimately, the board asked me to demonstrate higher user growth in the next six months than I believe I can deliver while maintaining Reddit’s core principles.”

Read her full post here.

Co-founder and former Reddit CEO Steve Huffman will be returning to the helm. In a post from Reddit’s Sam Altman, Huffman’s reappointment was introduced along with thanks to Pao for her time.

“Ellen Pao resigned from reddit today by mutual agreement. I’m delighted to announce that Steve Huffman, founder and the original Reddit CEO, is returning as CEO,” the post said.

Like Pao, Altman took aim at the ugly side of Reddit, saying he was sickened by some of the abuse Pao copped.

“As a closing note, it was sickening to see some of the things Redditors wrote about Ellen,” the post read. “[1] The reduction in compassion that happens when we’re all behind computer screens is not good for the world. People are still people even if there is Internet between you.

“If the Reddit community cannot learn to balance authenticity and compassion, it may be a great website but it will never be a truly great community. Steve’s great challenge as CEO [2] will be continuing the work Ellen started to drive this forward.

“[1] Disagreements are fine. Death threats are not, are not covered under free speech, and will continue to get offending users banned.

“Ellen asked me to point out that the sweeping majority of Redditors didn’t do this, and many were incredibly supportive. Although the incredible power of the Internet is the amplification of voices, unfortunately sometimes those voices are hateful.”

Read his fill post here. Lead image via Forbes.