Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian said Friday that he will step down from the company’s board of directors and donate $1 million toward Colin Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights Camp” as part of a long-term pledge to combat racial injustice following the death of George Floyd.
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Ohanian announced on Twitter he will urge Reddit leadership to appoint a black candidate to replace him on the social media platform’s board of directors. The 37-year-old tech entrepreneur said he will use future proceeds from his Reddit stock to “serve the black community, chiefly to curb racial hate.”
“I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership from people in power right now,” Ohanian wrote. “To everyone fighting to fix our broken nation: do not stop.”
Ohanian is married to tennis legend Serena Williams. He said the decision was made “as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks ‘what did you do?’”
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said in a blog post that the company would honor Ohanian's request to be replaced with a black candidate. In addition, the company will update its content policy to explicitly address hate speech on its platform.
"We will update our content policy to include a vision for Reddit and its communities to aspire to, a statement on hate, the context for the rules, and a principle that Reddit isn’t to be used as a weapon," Huffman said.
Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police custody resulted in nationwide protests against police brutality in recent days. Derek Chauvin, the white police officer who was caught on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck prior to his death, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. The three other officers directly involved in the incident also face charges.
Ohanian’s $1 million donation to “Know Your Rights Camp” came one day after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey donated $3 million to the initiative. The organization says its mission “is to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.”
Ohanian co-founded Reddit in 2005 and initially departed the company in 2009. He returned in 2014 to become executive chairman of the board but stepped down from day-to-day responsibilities at the company in 2018 to focus on fatherhood.
This story has been updated.