Alexis Ohanian leaves Reddit board, urges firm to fill seat with black candidate


Alexis Ohanian at an event in May 2019.

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Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian said Friday that he’s resigned from the company’s board and has urged that his seat be filled with a black candidate. The move comes as protests over police violence and racism continue across the US, sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after being pinned down by a white officer in Minneapolis.

“I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership from people in power right now,” Ohanian said in a message posted on social media and his website. “To everyone fighting to fix our broken nation: do not stop.”

Ohanian, who’s married to tennis pro Serena Williams, citied his family as one reason for his decision.

“I’m doing this for me, for my family, and for my country,” he said. “I’m writing this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: ‘What did you do?'”

The Reddit co-founder said he’ll also be using the future gains from his Reddit stock to serve the black community, beginning with a $1 million pledge to former NFL player and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.

Ohanian co-founded the social networking site with Steve Huffman in 2005. After selling the company in 2006, Ohanian returned to Reddit in 2015. In 2018, he stepped away from daily duties but remained on Reddit’s board. 

Ohanian’s resignation from the board follows recent criticism of Reddit from former CEO Ellen Pao for “amplifying” racism and hate.

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