Chief executive departs amid controversy over staff firing
Ellen Pao has resigned from her role as CEO of Reddit. She will be replaced by company co-founder and former CEO Steve Huffman.
Pao had recently become embroiled in a controversy over the firing of a paid staffer who worked with the site’s unpaid moderators. Those moderators responded to the employee’s dismissal by shutting down large portions of the site in protest. Pao also became the subject of sometimes vicious written attacks on the site’s forums.
Those attacks were serious enough that the company, in a statement by board board member Sam Altman announcing Pao’s departure, addressed the Reddit community directly, writing, “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.”
Pao had served as interim CEO since the departure of former chief executive Yishan Wong, who stepped down in November. She was the plaintiff in a high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit against her previous employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — a suit she lost in March.