Reddit has named a new board member after founder Alexis Ohanian quit and urged the company to name a Black candidate in his place

Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunchMichael Seibel.
  • Y Combinator partner Michael Seibel has been named to Reddit’s board of directors.
  • The move comes after Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian quit the board last week, calling on Reddit to name a Black candidate in his place.
  • Ohanian said the change was “long overdue” and said his decision was spurred “as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: ‘What did you do?'”
  • Seibel has been a partner at Y Combinator since 2014 and serves as CEO of its accelerator program. He cofounded Justin.tv, which would eventually become Twitch, and served as the CEO of video app SocialCam.
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Reddit has named Y Combinator partner Michael Seibel to its board of directors after Alexis Ohanian, Reddit’s cofounder, quit last week and called on the company to fill his seat with a Black candidate.

Seibel has been a partner at Y Combinator since 2014 and he currently serves as CEO of its accelerator program, which was where Reddit got its start in 2005. Prior to joining YC, Seibel cofounded Justin.tv, a streaming site that eventually became Twitch. He also served as CEO of video app SocialCam before it was acquired by Autodesk in 2012.

Seibel said in a statement that Reddit is part of the “core fabric of the internet.”

“I’m excited to help provide advice and guidance as Reddit continues to grow and tackle the challenges of bringing community and belonging to a broader audience,” Seibel said.

Reddit cofounder and CEO Steve Huffman said in a statement that Seibel is “one of the smartest and kindest people in tech” and said the company is honoured that he’s joining the board.

Seibel’s board appointment comes after Ohanian stepped down from his seat last week in what he called a “long overdue” move to “do the right thing.” Ohanian is married to tennis superstar Serena Williams, and he said the decision was spurred in part by his family.

“I’m writing this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: ‘What did you do?'” Ohanian said.

He urged Reddit to replace him with a Black candidate and said he would use future gains on the shares he owns in Reddit to fight racial injustice, beginning with a $US1 million donation to Know Your Rights Camp, an organisation founded by Colin Kaepernick.

Ohanian said in a tweet Wednesday morning that Seibel is a “strong leader who will make a great addition to the board.”

Reddit has faced criticism in light of protests against police brutality and racial inequality that have spread across the nation in recent weeks. The site has long allowed rampant racism and hate speech on its platform, and critics and even the site’s moderators have urged Reddit to explicitly ban violent and hateful rhetoric. Reddit has also been a home for conspiracy theories and harmful misinformation, most recently with users posting unverified information on the coronavirus.

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