Serena Williams’ fiancee, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, is down in Austin, Texas at the SXSW tech orgy to proselytize about his dumb website. Ohanian, who surely exists in a different reality than you or I, says Reddit is “the global water cooler where people’s minds are changed about things.” Riiight.
Let us not forget: Reddit is a bad website. The website once home to racist subreddits dedicated to violent hate speech like “CoonTown,” wants people to “come for the cats, stay for the empathy,” according to Ohanian. Is this clown serious? CoonTown was finally banned last year, but white supremacy communities like /r/WhiteRights still exist on the site. And don’t forget about subreddits like /r/CuteFemaleCorpses, which is exactly what it sounds like. Empathy indeed.
The fact that Ohanian thinks a website that birthed the brainless, insolent trolls of GamerGate and a community where people posted pictures of underage girls wearing little clothing is somehow a bastion of empathy is beyond me. Much of Reddit’s culture is disgusting, and despite the company’s efforts to finally clean up its act, it seems like it hasn’t changed too much.
Ohanian’s defense of the racist, hate-filled communities on his website is that “99.98 percent” of content on Reddit is never reported for violations. Obviously, this logic is flawed. If Reddit users are cool with white nationalist communities on its website, why would they report them? My guess is: they don’t.
“I want everyone to have their home and their voice on Reddit,” Ohanian said. “That’s the only reason [co-founder Steve Huffman] and I came back. We know the potential Reddit has. We’ve seen it happen despite itself.”
It’s unclear if Ohanian has embarked on this miniature image rehabilitation tour to try to cleanse his soul of the online hatred he’s personally responsible for or to grease up investors to eventually open up their checkbooks. Maybe he’s just bored. Whatever his reason is, don’t buy Ohanian’s bullshit. The fact that white supremacy communities still exist on Reddit enough is evidence enough it hasn’t changed at all, and remains the last place in the world you should go looking for empathy.
Correction: Ohanian is William’s fiancee, not husband, as this post originally and dumbly stated. They have yet to marry.