A leader in the tech community is giving up his position of power amid outcry over hate speech.
Alexis Ohanian, husband of Serena Williams and cofounder of Reddit, is resigning from the company’s board. He made the announcement Friday, three days after former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao slammed the company for nurturing hate speech on its platform.
Ohanian cites daughter with Serena Williams
Ohanian said in his announcement that he’s making the move in part because of his and Williams’ black daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
“It is long overdue to do the right thing,” Ohanian said Friday. “I am doing this for me, my family and for my country. I’m saying this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks, ‘What did you do?’
“So, I have resigned as a member of the Reddit board. I have urged them to fill my seat with a black candidate.”
Ohanian pledges donation to Kaepernick fund
Ohanian pledged to donate the future gains on his Reddit stock to “serve the black community” and announced a $1 million donation to Colin Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights Camp.” He touted resignation as a potential act of leadership from people in power in the midst of the nation’s reckoning catalyzed by the homicide case of George Floyd who died in custody of the Minneapolis police.
Tech companies under scrutiny
The announcement also arrives amid a debate over the responsibility of tech and social media companies as Reddit has been criticized for promoting and profiting from white supremacy and hate.
Twitter and CEO Jack Dorsey made waves when it hid a tweet from Donald Trump amid the initial wave of George Floyd protests proclaiming “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a phrase mired with a history of racism and segregation.
“This tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today,” a Twitter statement read.
Meanwhile Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg remains under fire for his policy of remaining neutral on misinformation on his company’s platform.
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