The Internet is a fickle place, and as Reddit claims to be the front page of it, it is inevitably guilty of changing its opinions and loyalties on a whim. After many users on the site revolted against CEO Ellen Pao following a few shake-ups at the company, most notably her alleged firing of its communications director Victoria Taylor.
But now it’s been revealed that everything is not as it seems, as following Pao’s resignation from her position within the company, the company’s former CEO Yishan Wong has stepped out to claim that it was co-founder Alexis Ohanian who fired Victoria and that he had willingly allowed Pao to take the heat for a decision that wasn’t hers, and that she had actively fought against.
In a thread discussing the firing of Victoria, Yishan spoke up about the events that surrounded the decision that would eventually lead to Pao’s resignation, saying: “Alexis wasn’t some employee reporting to Pao, he was the Executive Chairman of the Board, i.e. Pao’s boss. He had different ideas for AMAs, he didn’t like Victoria’s role, and decided to fire her. Pao wasn’t able to do anything about it. In this case it shouldn’t have traveled upstream to her, it came from above her.
“Then when the hate-train started up against Pao, Alexis should have been out front and center saying very clearly “Ellen Pao did not make this decision, I did.” Instead, he just sat back and let her take the heat. That’s a stunning lack of leadership and an incredibly shitty thing to do.
“I actually asked that he be on the board when I joined; I used to respect Alexis Ohanian. After this, not quite so much.”
Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit.
Alexis, known as kn0thing on the site, issued a brief response to Yishan’s comment, saying: “It saddens me to hear you say this, Yishan. I did report to her, we didn’t handle it well, and again, I apologize.”
Yishan followed up his original comments by discussing Pao’s reaction to the controversy surrounding her, despite her reportedly not having much to do with the firing of Victoria, saying: “It wasn’t “we didn’t handle it well” – Ellen actually handled things very well, and with quite a bit of grace given the prejudices arrayed against her and the situation she was put in – you didn’t handle it well.
“There was tremendous amounts of unnecessary damage done as a result, and we are only able to say that things might turn out ok because Huffman agreed to return and take up the mantle.”
Ellen Pao became a target for the ire of Redditors who were unhappy with the direction the site was headed in, and while she is still seen as responsible for changes such as the removal of offensive subreddits such as r/FatPeopleHate, it being revealed that she was not directly involved in the firing of Victoria Taylor could potentially see a shift in the opinion of her held by the site’s users – not that it matters much now, considering she was forced to leave the company due to the negativity swirling around her.
Pao replaced Wong as interim CEO, before Pao’s resignation saw the site’s other co-founder, Steve Huffman, taking her place.
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