Open Letter to Steve Huffman and the Board of Directors of Reddit, Inc – If you believe in standing up to hate and supporting black lives, you need to act
Dear Steve,
On June 1, you shared a letter on Reddit’s blog “Remember the Human – Black Lives Matter”. In this letter, you claim “as Snoos, we do not tolerate hate, racism, and violence, and while we have work to do to fight these on our platform, our values are clear.”
As of today, neither you nor any other Reddit admins have shared this letter anywhere on reddit.com. However, the response to this message was swift on Twitter, where you were rightfully labeled as hypocritical based on your long and wellrecorded history of defending racism and white supremacy on this site.
Among the many responses was this message from former CEO of Reddit, Ellen Pao.
I am obligated to call you out: You should have shut down the_donald instead of amplifying it and its hate, racism, and violence. So much of what is happening now lies at your feet. You don’t get to say BLM when reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long
Many others shared links and screenshots of your past statements saying “Open racism and slurs are fine to post on Reddit”.
The problem of Reddit’s leadership supporting and providing a platform for racist users and hateful communities has long been an issue. Nearly six years ago, dozens of subreddits signed the original open letter to the Reddit admins calling for action. While the Reddit admins acknowledged the letter and said it was a high priority to address this issue, extremely little has been done in the intervening years.
On June 5, you shared this update on r/Announcements, Upcoming changes to our content policy, our board, and where we’re going from here. In the post, you stated that there is a need for continued adjustments of Reddit’s content policy to address racism and that this remains a priority. These continued statements that you hear us, that this is a priority, or that you are working on it are not enough. It has been five years since your return as CEO and this still remains Reddit’s most glaring problem.
Steve, if you and Reddit genuinely care about the values of standing up to racism and hate, then you need to back it up with real action. As moderators on this website who have dedicated countless hours to keeping this site running, we call on Reddit to take the following steps:

Enact a sitewide policy against racism, slurs, and hatespeech targeted at protected groups. For too many years, Steve Huffman and the other Admins have stood by and allowed this site to fester with hate in the name of “free speech.” It is time to enact a specific and detailed policy that protects the disadvantaged members of our communities from hate based on their sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, country of origin, religion, or disability.

Be proactive in banning hatebased communities In the past Reddit has only taken action on hate subreddits when they were featured in the news and risked Reddit’s reputation or when they were documented and featured on r/AgainstHateSubreddits and other forums. AHS should not have to be responsible for raising awareness of hate subreddits and reporting them to the admins. This site should take responsibility for keeping its users safe by banning any remaining subreddits devoted to hate and racism and preventing the creation of hateful subreddits in the future.

Be proactive in banning hate users Reddit needs to not only ban hate subreddits, but must be proactive in banning the moderators of these subreddits and their most active users. Too often these users have been allowed to stay on this website after numerous sitewide violations, letting them move on to participate in new hate communities and spread their vitriol further across this site.

Reddit needs to hire more minorities / women, especially in leadership roles Reddit needs to hire more women and people of color — particularly in leadership roles in the company — to help shift the corporate culture and policies to be more equitable for all. In addition, Reddit needs to take adequate steps to protect these employees from harassment.

Reddit needs to hire more community managers According to Reddit’s job listings there are dozens of open positions that the company is hiring for, and yet not a single one for Community. Reddit has enacted numerous policies over the years that have been detrimental to the ability of Reddit’s moderators or the broader Reddit community. Reddit needs more community managers to build positive relations and engagement with the site’s volunteer moderators.

Honor Alexis Ohanian’s wishes to have his Reddit Board seat filled with a black candidate – On June 5, Reddit CoFounder and Executive Chairman announced that he would be stepping down from his role on Reddit’s Board of Directors. Alexis requested that his position be filled with a black candidate and we ask Reddit to honor that request. While you have stated your intent to honor that request, we are asking for an announcement to be made on this decision in the next 3 months. We believe this is not an issue that should be put off for action years down the road.
At r/AgainstHateSubreddits, we have laid out the many failures of Steve time and again to stand up to white supremacy on this site time and time and time again.
With a website with the impact of Reddit on the broader conversations being held in communities around the world, this website needs real leadership and real action.
We hope that Reddit will not just share empty platitudes — but will take a meaningful stand against hate, and take these recommendations to heart.
This letter is cosigned by more than 200 300 350 430 550 communities representing well over 200 million subscribers:
If your subreddit is not listed and would like to sign on, please leave a comment below
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Added as of 6:30 PM US Eastern, June 8, 2020
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