Reddit, still reeling from huge protests and the introduction of a divisive new content policy, has lost another senior employee. Re/code is reporting that Jessica Moreno, the news aggregation and community site’s head of community has quit. Moreno’s departure comes shortly after her husband Dan McComas, another Reddit employee, was “let go.”
Reddit has had a rough couple of weeks. A crackdown on harassing communities (known as “subreddits”) including r/FatPeopleHate sparked initial protests in June. Then, when popular staff member Victoria Taylor abruptly left the company in early July without any explanation, huge protests exploded, with volunteer moderators temporarily taking hundreds of the site’s most popular communities offline.
It was, moderators explained, a culmination of years of simmering resentment over the relationship between paid staff and volunteers. CEO Ellen Pao ultimately resigned after hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition calling for her removal.
Shortly afterwards, Reddit’s head of engineering Bethanye Blount also stepped down after just two months on the job. Blount said that she felt that Pao had been put on a “glass cliff” — a reference to how women are sometimes put in positions of leadership during crises, when they are likely to fail.
Steve Huffman, one of Reddit’s cofounders, has now taken up the role of CEO, and introduced a new content policy. “Anything that incites harm of violence against an individual or group of people” will be removed, he told the community, but content “that violates a common sense of decency” will only be hidden from unregistered users. Huffman gave two examples: r/BeatingWomen, as an incitement to violence, is banned; r/CoonTown, a notorious racist community, is not.
Reddit will also no longer run adverts alongside controversial content like r/CoonTown, meaning it is no longer directly profiting from having it on the site. But this decision has also been criticised by some, with feminist blog We Hunted The Mammoth arguing that Reddit is now, in effect, subsidising white supremacist communities.
Moreno is now the fourth senior female employee to leave this month. She told Re/code that “after four years I feel that it’s time for me to move on.” She is positive about the changes being made, saying that her departure “was a difficult decision to make right now as Reddit is taking difficult steps in a much needed positive direction. I’m excited to see the progress being made and glad I could be a part of it.”
Meanwhile, Reddit said in a statement that “Jessica is going to return to Salt Lake City to be with her family, but we’ve yet to settle on a date.” It adds that the company is “grateful for her invaluable contributions to our community.”
Jessica Moreno and her husband Dan McComas launched RedditGifts, an online gift exchange, in 2009. It was acquired by Reddit in 2011. McComas, who became SVP of Product, also left the company in June; in a post earlier in July, he says he was “let go” from the company. He subsequently declined a user’s request to do an AMA (a kind of public Q&A), saying that “I just don’t think I can muster the energy to do this. It’s a painful situation for myself, my family and my colleagues.”
Business Insider has reached out to Jessica Moreno and Reddit for comment.
Here’s the full statement Moreno sent Re/code:
I have enjoyed my time at Reddit but after four years I feel that it’s time for me to move on. While I am working with Steve on a transition plan, I am looking forward to taking time off to spend with my family. It was a difficult decision to make right now as Reddit is taking difficult steps in a much needed positive direction. I’m excited to see the progress being made and glad I could be a part of it.
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