The news of Ellen Pao’s resignation as the CEO of Reddit has been dominating the headlines for the past 2 days. She was appointed the interim CEO of Reddit in November 2014. Her short stint as the CEO came to an end following heavy pressure on her forcing her to resign. So, this doesn’t really come across as a huge surprise to many.
Reddit has a very active online user community which is quite vocal on various topics. It is said that her mismanagement of Reddit employees prompted the user community to protest against her. Particularly, her recent sacking of Victoria Taylor who was working as a coordinator in Reddit angered the online community. To protest against this, the Reddit user community started an online petition for removing Ellen Pao as the CEO of Reddit. The petition gained a lot of traction in a very short period of time and they were able to collect more than 200,000 signatures supporting the petition. There were also reports of death threats being sent to the former CEO by angry Reddit users who did not like Taylor’s dismissal. These events clearly caused a lot of embarrassment to Ellen Pao and she had no other option than to resign.
The official announcement of Pao’s resignation by Reddit mentioned that her decision to resign came after mutual agreement between Pao and other Reddit Administrators. However, it is quite clear that Pao was rather forced to resign.
Ellen Pao was quite emotional in her resignation statement where she said that the recent harassment meted out to her by the reddit user community bordered on inhumanity. Sam Altman, a board member of reddit, was quite vocal in his support of Pao when he said that the things which were said by Reddit users on the website were quite sickening. He urged the users to show some compassion. He reiterated the fact that even though Reddit is part of the internet, it is still real human beings who use it. He said that disagreements are bound to happen but that shouldn’t make people forget humanity. He mentioned particularly against the death threats sent to Pao and said that those behind the threats would be found out and strict action would be taken against them.
The relationship between Ellen Pao and Reddit users started going downhill back in May itself when an anti-harassment drive was started by the Reddit administration aimed at controlling the abuses and harassment on the website. This didn’t really go well with a majority of reddit users who believed that it was against freedom of speech.