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So it wasn’t Ellen Pao who fired that popular Reddit staffer after all? But the angry mob isn’t apologizing.

Reddit's Alexis Ohanian "can't comment on the specifics."
Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian “can’t comment on the specifics.”

As you may recall, the recent week of hate and abuse directed at Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, which led to her becoming ex-Reddit-CEO Ellen Pao, was triggered by the firing of a popular admin Victoria Taylor, one of the few people on Reddit’s staff who actually seemed to respond to user concerns. The firing was said to be an example of Pao’s supposed “incompetence,” a sign that she didn’t really understand Reddit or Reddit culture — and that she needed to go.

One problem with this line of argument was that there was never ever any proof that Pao was responsible for firing Taylor.

And now it seems pretty clear that she wasn’t. Over the weekend, Reddit co-founder and Chairman of the Board Alexis Ohanian seemed to admit, albeit somewhat obliquely, that he was the person responsible for the firing, commenting on Reddit that

It was my decision to change how we work with AMAs and the transition was my failure and I hope we can keep moving forward from that lesson.

Yishan Wong, who was Reddit’s CEO before Pao took over, put things a bit more bluntly, accusing Ohanian of letting Pao pay the price for his bad decision. In a comment on Reddit, he wrote

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. …

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 used to respect Alexis Ohanian. After this, not quite so much.

Ohanian responded with another oblique comment, insisting that he “did report to her.” Admitting that “we didn’t handle it well,” he apologized, but said he couldn’t be any more specific than this.

A real profile in courage.

Wong acknowledged to Ohanian that “in-one-capacity you weren’t her boss,” but added

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.

Both Ohanian’s seeming admission and Wong’s accusations have caused a little bit of a stir on Reddit.

But there are no subreddits going dark to protest the fact that the person seemingly responsible for Taylor’s firing is still Reddit’s chairman of the board — after letting Pao take the hit for what seems to have been his mistake.

There is no Change.org petition with hundreds of thousands of votes calling for Ohanian to step down. There are no nasty “Chairman Ohanian” graphics going viral on Twitter. There’s no mass movement forming to apologize to Pao for wrongly targeting her.

Could it be that perhaps Taylor’s firing wasn’t the real reason so many were angry at Pao?

Could it be that her haters actually hated her not because of the firing but because she was taking small steps to curb the worst excesses of Reddit’s poisonous culture? That she was a woman standing up to some of the angry boys of Reddit?

I’m not even sure why I bother to ask these questions, as the answer is so blindingly obvious.

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Jane
Jane
5 years ago

Bother, that should have said “something like this”, not “it”; they’ve done a lot more that makes me question their suitability for running a business beyond just getting angry over ex-employees.

Bonnie Blue
Bonnie Blue
5 years ago

Alexis Ohanian’s m.o. has ALWAYS been to cover his own ass at all costs, so his reaction (or lack thereof) to the fallout over Victoria Taylor’s firing surprises me as much as the sun rising in the east. He quietly allowed r/jailbait and similar pedo-magnet subs to flourish on his site for years, enjoying all they clicks they brought. When he was backed into a corner after CNN reported on reddit’s apparent willingness to host that type of content, then and only then did he *begrudgingly* ban all jailbait type content at the last possible second. Then, in a spectacularly transparent ass-covering move, he released a statement about the whole thing that said something to the effect of “I will NOT stand for this shit on MY site! This is NOT OKAY!” (Of course, he said it in a much more wishy-washy tone, but it was an empty and transparent face-saving gesture all the same.)

JoshuaYYZ
JoshuaYYZ
5 years ago
Leela
Leela
5 years ago

Everyone –

Sorry I didn’t post it as a donotlink. I need to figure out how to do that.

Also, thank you for tearing it apart. I didn’t want to get into it on facebook with that friend (have to work with her), but I had to get it out. The screaming was so loud in my head.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Which is great because earlier she writes about how she wants to teach her sons that beauty is about who a person is rather than what they wear. I guess it’s less about “treating everyone fairly no matter how they look” and more “be judgemental as hell no matter how much the succubi may tempt you.”

Jayzus. If those boys grow up sensible and free of confusion, it won’t be due to any efforts on HER part. I guess inner beauty only applies if you’re not all ratted up like a teenage jezebel.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

@Leela

Here: http://www.donotlink.com/

Just paste the link in and BAM. A do not link.

Also, for the SU fans:

TONIGHT’S EPISODE WILL GIVE GOOD FEELS. I PROMISE. THE TEARS WILL BE OF HAPPINESS.

Bonnie Blue
Bonnie Blue
5 years ago

@ JoshuaYYZ

Ha! That’s fucking great.

The racist, sexist, entitled manchildren who have become reddit’s core demographic are Ohanian’s bread and butter, and he knows it. They’ve built the site into the gigantic web traffic hub that it is today, as shitty as that is for those of us who are fans of basic decency. I wouldn’t go so far as to assume that he’s “on their side” from an ideological perspective (I highly doubt he’s that much of an idiot), but he certainly knows well enough to keep scratching their backs as subtly as he can so they can continue scratching his.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

I wouldn’t go so far as to assume that he’s “on their side” from an ideological perspective (I highly doubt he’s that much of an idiot) …

I’m not so sure. At the risk of stepping into libellous territory, I can only think of one reason for building an empire off the back of child porn “Jailbait” without his conscience exploding.

snowolf2015
snowolf2015
5 years ago

From what I’ve seen it’s turning out that Ellen Pao was more along the lines of “not my shield” crap from gamergate.

Former CEO Yishan Wong put out a statement saying Pao was the sjw shield that allowed the worst of reddit’s manchildren to continue being disgusting, that was as long as it was kept quiet and on the down low. Wong also says that Pao had veto’d banning ALL the hate subreddits in one purge cause it’d cause a shitstorm.

http://gawker.com/former-reddit-ceo-youre-all-screwed-1717901652

Wong’s statement was in answer to CEO Steve Huffman putting out a statement saying they never meant for Reddit to be a bastion of free speech and how they have no obligation to support the racist, sexist rubbish on Reddit.

https://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/3dautm/content_policy_update_ama_thursday_july_16th_1pm/

http://gawker.com/reddit-ceo-site-not-supposed-to-be-a-bastion-of-free-1717835442

skiriki
5 years ago

POPCORN!

Yishan is dishing it out again, now with more SJWs added to the mix. Reddit’s rules are also getting tightened by the new old management.

https://np.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/3dautm/content_policy_update_ama_thursday_july_16th_1pm/ct3n7hc

goodrumo
5 years ago

Reblogged this on iheariseeilearn.

Kootiepatra
5 years ago

@skiriki – I am at a loss for words at Yishan’s post. Such professional. Much adult. Wow.

I mean, I’m glad that they’re bringing the hammer down on some of the bile, but egads.

skiriki
5 years ago

@skiriki – I am at a loss for words at Yishan’s post. Such professional. Much adult. Wow.

I mean, I’m glad that they’re bringing the hammer down on some of the bile, but egads.

Professionalism, at Reddit? Ha, they chased out the last vestiges of it, really, I dare say pushed all the talent off a silicon-based cliff.

Fortunately for me, all I care about right now is popcorn while watching the fallout from a safe distance. MELT DOWN FASTER.

sevenofmine
5 years ago

Teaching my boys that they are somehow wrong, perverted or bad if they look at what is being flaunted in front of them is also making the job of parents a thousand times harder to have that conversation about steering clear of “easy” girls.

Girls and women don’t just have bodies and wear clothes, they have bodies and wear clothes at men and boys.

That post reminds me of a blog post from a couple of years ago. The author was the mother of 2 adolescent boys and said much the same thing. Part of it was criticizing girls for taking suggestive photos of themselves to use as Facebook profile photos. Meanwhile she had pictures of her boys, shirtless, at the beach dripping wet. It so perfectly illustrated the idea that girls/women exist at boys/men while boys/men are allowed to just exist. The sense of ownership is so strong that people just can’t even brain the idea that women ever do anything just for themselves.

Jo
Jo
5 years ago

Yishan was a terrible CEO. But he’s turning out to be a fucking fantastic ex-CEO. This is making Mad Max Fury Road look like Warhol’s ‘Empire’.

freemage
5 years ago

So in the comments to Yishan’s post, I learned a new phrase: Glass Cliff. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_cliff Yet another way for privilege to be maintained.

I will say this–I think Yishan’s being honest, simply because no one bothering with insincerity would include so many elements that make them look so bad (specifically, his continuing defense of the decision to retain r/creepshots).

So, yeah, the board is trying to clean up Reddit, the CEOs they bring are resisting because they know the shitstorm that will arise will be directed at them, and the users are clueless about the fact that they’re being deliberately tossed red meat to distract them.

StarStorm
5 years ago

Me? I can’t help but say “burn you motherfuckers, burn”.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

Girls and women don’t just have bodies and wear clothes, they have bodies and wear clothes at men and boys.

That post reminds me of a blog post from a couple of years ago. The author was the mother of 2 adolescent boys and said much the same thing. Part of it was criticizing girls for taking suggestive photos of themselves to use as Facebook profile photos. Meanwhile she had pictures of her boys, shirtless, at the beach dripping wet. It so perfectly illustrated the idea that girls/women exist at boys/men while boys/men are allowed to just exist. The sense of ownership is so strong that people just can’t even brain the idea that women ever do anything just for themselves.

This… argh.

I was sitting with some colleagues about a year ago, eating lunch. Several of them were busy discussing their workout in the gym that morning, and more particularly discussing their eyeing up of the female staff who were using the gym. One person mentioned Female Colleague A.

The response stands as one of my favourite pieces of misogynist thinking: “Naaaah, I’m not into Female Colleague A. She’s hot, but she knows she’s hot and likes being looked at, and that makes it no fun to look at her.”

Needless to say, that person is no longer my friend, and will shortly no longer be my colleague.

sevenofmine
5 years ago

Yep. So typical of the no win situation we put women and girls in. We tell girls to prioritize being attractive to men, but shame them for daring to think they’re attractive. We socialize girls to like certain things and then we label all those things stupid and frivolous and silly. We discourage girls away from certain activities and then cite the fact that there are no girls doing that activity as proof that girls just aren’t suited for it. We schedule girls’ sporting events at the most awkward times, schedule the boys’ events when everyone is available to attend and then cite the low attendance at the girls’ events as the reason why we can’t give the girls’ team more funding. And so on.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

the idea that girls/women exist at boys/men while boys/men are allowed to just exist

And we never do anything just for ourselves. Only AT men and boys.

This is something that’s been bugging me since forever. What a pity there was no internet when I was in middle school and first had the “pleasure” of hearing a guy criticize my makeup with the tone that if he didn’t like it, I shouldn’t wear it. I was literally dumbstruck with the self-centred stupidity of that kid. (And he was one of the “bright” kids, just like me!)

Shaggs
Shaggs
5 years ago

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs on July 14, 2015 at 10:23 am
“Well yeah, Ohanian’s a white dude. He’s unassailable to them. Pao, being neither white nor a dude, you could probably convince Reddit that she stole the TARDIS, travelled back to the ’30s, started WWII in the name of the Femborg Collective and falsely accused an innocent white man of masterminding the Holocaust with minimal (and misspelled) effort”

COTY!

Catalpa
Catalpa
5 years ago

@grumpyoldsocialjusticemangina

I wonder what happens if one of her sons turns out to be gay. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near when her head explodes.

Unfortunately, gay men can still be misogynistic, so she might still be able to raise a sexist shithead. And even if the brainwashing doesn’t take, I’m kind of uncomfortable with the sentiment of ‘think if a misogynist/homophobe/transphobe had a kid on the LGBT+ spectrum!’. Because it feels like that’s viewing queer kids as punishment, and honestly I think it would be way more traumatic for the kid than the asshole.

Neon Vincent
5 years ago

Gawker has decided that Reddit is irredeemable.

http://gawker.com/no-one-wants-to-admit-it-but-reddit-cant-be-saved-1717577917

Oh, the people reading here will gladly admit it.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

I wonder if women who have sons but not daughters are more likely to be misogynistic. Obviously there are plenty of mothers of sons who don’t have tons of internalized misogyny, but maybe if the ingredients are there to an anti-misogynist woman, having boys pushes them over the edge. Just anecdotally, it seems like the most anti-feminist women are mothers of sons and not daughters. I’m reminded of those dads who didn’t understand that feminism is necessary until they had daughters. People who tend to view their kids as property or extensions of themselves will embrace an ideology they think will protect their kids.

Of course, I think a feminist culture is better for boys than an anti-feminist culture, but a woman with conservative leanings is going to think differently.

I wonder if anyone has ever studied this.

Catalpa
Catalpa
5 years ago

^

That seems like a reasonable hypothesis. Seems to follow the same logic that other misogynistic/MRA women use; that if they and theirs have things good and are given head pats for being good little followers of the patriarchy, they couldn’t care less about who else they throw under the bus.

Leela
Leela
5 years ago

SevonofMine –
“We socialize girls to like certain things and then we label all those things stupid and frivolous and silly.”

See: pumpkin spiced foods vs. the obsession with bacon.

weirwoodtreehugger
-“I wonder if women who have sons but not daughters are more likely to be misogynistic. “

I had a friend who had some internalized misogyny who swore up and down she only wanted to have a boy. She had a daughter and is way less misogynistic now. She also said she’d never want a female Dr. We aren’t really friends now though.

GrumpyOldSocialJusticeMangina

I think she would probably regard a gay son as a punishment, so I probably need to hope for their sake that neither of hers is gay — or at least has resources for compensating for her attitude. The basic problem is that she seems to want to MOLD them into some rather obsolete vision of the Gentleman rather than help them develop in their own way. You would think that, in this day and age, it would occur to a parent that their children might turn out to be gay — this woman seems to be assuming her sons will be hetero.
Our culture being what it is, it IS difficult to keep boys from developing noxious ideas about women and turning into Reddit scum. I don’t think raising your sons anti-feminist is the way to do it, however. It sounds like she is reinforcing a lot of bad old stereotypes.
A lot of men do discover misogyny when they have daughters — if you are male in this culture, misogyny is so prevalent that you often don’t notice it until it is pointed out to you. In the time I have been visiting WHTM, there haven’t been too many days when I haven’t been made aware of some form of misogyny that I wasn’t previously aware of. I think it is natural to want the best for your children, but it isn’t always clear what that is. As a person who was grossly over-mothered, I understand the forces that make women often treat their sons as little princes, but it is not good preparation for the real world, not today. We do not need more men who are looking for mommies rather than partners.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

You would think that, in this day and age, it would occur to a parent that their children might turn out to be gay — this woman seems to be assuming her sons will be hetero.

I think this is the problem – she is terrified that her son might be gay, and so is frantically taking every precaution she can, just as a mother might take precautions against her child catching an illness or taking drugs.

I can’t remember where I saw it, but someone here at WHTM once quoted a Texan anti-gay campaigner as saying “We can’t let out lesbians live next door. If they did then my daughters might see that they’re just normal people, and then it would be hard for me to convince them not to do it themselves.”

The hard part is convincing her that her son or daughter might be gay and that’s okay..

Lea
Lea
5 years ago

The “easy” women thing disgusts me. The very idea that “good” girls put up a fight and have to be overcome is rape culture at it’s smarmiest. In this catch 22 women who want sex don’t deserve respect and women who do not want sex cannot expect their “no” to be respected.
I hope that woman’s sons end up OK despite their mother being an ignorant misogynist.

…and getting a spontaneous kiss from your kids is not the same as getting one from a co-worker and it sure isn’t like getting groped on the subway or catcalled on the street. In this woman’s messed up perception of the world it is awful for women to have bodies that are not kept in a way that her son’s find pleasing but not threatening. but her sons should be able to leer or fondle women at will. She wants them in a position of power over women at all times because she imagines herself sharing that power, doting mother that she is. She gets a vicarious sense of power over her sons’ having that power over other women.
Wasn’t it Empress Maude who had her headstone inscribed with:
“Great by birth. Greater by marriage. Greater still by motherhood.”?
Women with no power of their own to wield have been using the power of fathers, husbands and sons to be movers and shakers in the patriarchy for ages. She’s kissing her boys’ asses as a way of kissing her own. She’s one of the “good” women and will teach her son’s to see “bad” women everywhere so that they will appreciate her “goodness”. She’s subservient and devoted to pleasing men because she has to. Her self worth depends on it. That’s how internalized misogyny works. “THOSE women deserve the abuse, harassment, rape they get. It’s their fault men hurt them. Men are so great and so long as I keep repeating that I’m safe from misogyny because I pretend it isn’t real. So long as I don’t slip up and deserve it too, I’m OK.”

katz
katz
5 years ago

She says she’s training her boys to do all these nice things without expecting anything back, but she does expect things, quite a lot of things.

She expects girls to give her boys a positive response whenever they show them attention, even if it’s unwanted attention. She expects girls to dress a certain way, never find boys’ behavior creepy, not raise awareness about rape, and accept that they aren’t equal and have limitations because of their gender.

Jo
Jo
5 years ago

Our culture being what it is, it IS difficult to keep boys from developing noxious ideas about women and turning into Reddit scum.

I guess. Hanging out at WHTM had made me assume there’s a lot of toxic men out there, but just recently I had an interesting experience.

I work in tech and am currently part of a temporary team, almost all of whom are cis white het men in their 30s and 40s. We don’t know each other outside work and rarely discuss politics. Recently someone made a joke about how ridiculous it was that a straight white man could feel oppressed and without hesitation everyone laughed and joined in with their own variations. I half-expected someone to out themselves as an MRA by angrily disagreeing, but everyone seemed genuinely amused. The shitheads are loud and some are dangerous, but I suspect (and hope) that most people wouldn’t give their ideas a second thought.