The Reddit drama continues, as former CEO Yishan Wong accuses co-founder Alexis Ohanian of making the controversial decision to fire a popular employee — a decision that led to the “Reddit Revolt” that ultimately resulted in the resignation of interim CEO Ellen Pao.
Wong made his accusations in a Reddit thread (where else), where he said that Ohanian had been pushing for changes to the site’s popular “Ask Me Anything” community, also known as AMA.
That community was run by well-regarded Reddit employee Victoria Taylor, alongside a group of active volunteer Redditors.
“[Ohanian] had different ideas for AMAs, he didn’t like Victoria’s role, and decided to fire her,” Wong wrote.
When Taylor was let go earlier this month, there weren’t a lot of details given, and the Reddit community blamed then-CEO Ellen Pao. Pao was already unpopular enough, after the company shut down controversial “subreddit” communities like FatPeopleHate, and for many of Reddit’s die-hard users, Taylor’s dismissal was the last straw.
But if Wong’s story is true, then it was really Ohanian’s decision to let her go, not Pao’s — something that Ohanian had hinted at in a Reddit post of his own, but never said outright. Meanwhile, Wong holds Ohanian responsible, even though Ohanian was supposed to answer to Pao and not vice versa.
“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,'” wrote Wong. “Instead, he just sat back and let her take the heat. That’s a stunning lack of leadership and an incredibly s***ty thing to do.”
In a reply to Wong’s post, Ohanian said “It saddens me to hear you say this, Yishan. I did report to her, we didn’t handle it well, and again, I apologise.”
Wong replied saying that the company did “tremendous amounts of unnecessary damage,” and defended Pao by saying that she “handled things very well, and with quite a bit of grace given the prejudices arrayed against her and the situation she was put in.”
Wong himself abruptly quit Reddit late last year over what was apparently a dispute over office space. Pao served in the interim CEO job until last Friday, when she resigned. Steve Huffman, who co-founded Reddit with Ohanian in 2005, got the nod for the CEO job, full-time.