July 13, 2024

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Alexis Ohanian says he left Reddit board to help make ‘real positive change’


Alexis Ohanian co-founded Reddit in 2005 with Steve Huffman and Aaron Swartz.

Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigned from the company’s board last week in an effort to push the platform to become more diverse. Reddit on Wednesday made good on its promise to hire a black board member, appointing Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel

On Thursday, Ohanian, who co-founded Reddit in 2005 with Steve Huffman and Aaron Swartz, told CBS This Morning that leaving the company was a “hard decision,” but that he did it for his his 2-year-old daughter and wife, tennis pro Serena Williams. (Editors’ note: CNET and CBS This Morning are both part of ViacomCBS.)

“Reddit was my first child. I started it right out of college,” Ohanian told CBS This Morning in an interview that aired Thursday. “But looking inward, it was a hard decision until it was a really easy one … when I remembered that my greatest creation is not and never will be Reddit. It’s my daughter, and I want her to be proud of her father.”

Ohanian announced his resignation from the Reddit board on June 5, urging the company to fill his seat with a black candidate. His resignation followed criticism of Reddit on June 2 from former CEO Ellen Pao for “amplifying” racism and hate. In a blog post Friday, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said the platform will also change its content policy to “explicitly address hate.”

“I think if we follow this drumbeat of support, both offline and online, I think we’re going to see more and more tech businesses in particular taking more responsibility over not just the content on their platforms, but also the diversity of their workforces,” Ohanian told CBS This Morning. 

The changes come as Black Lives Matter protests continue across the US and globally as people demonstrate against the recent deaths of George FloydBreonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and against systemic racism. 

Black Lives Matter. Visit blacklivesmatters.carrd.co to learn how to donate, sign petitions and protest safely.

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