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Reddit has cuts ties with a UK politician after hundreds of major subreddits went dark in protest against her hiring

Mar 25, 2021, 18:52 IST
Business Insider
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman.Horacio Villalobos /Corbis/Getty Images
  • Reddit said an admin, who was reportedly former UK politician Aimee Knight, is no longer an employee.
  • Major subreddits went private after a moderator was suspended for a post that mentioned Knight.
  • Knight was suspended from the Green party for selecting her dad, a convicted sex offender, as her election agent.

Reddit on Wednesday said it has cut ties with one of its admins after they became the centre of protests on the internet forum.

More than 200 subreddits set their status to private on Wednesday after Reddit's handling of the controversy involving admin Aimee Knight, a former UK politician.

Knight was suspended from the Green party in 2018 after choosing her father, who was later charged with violent sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl, to be her election agent in a 2017 political campaign.

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She was also suspended by the Liberal Democrats in 2019 after tweets about child sex fantasies appeared on her fiancé's account, per the Times.

"As of today, the employee in question is no longer employed by Reddit," CEO Steve Huffman said a statement. "We built a relationship with her first as a mod and then through her contractor work on RPAN. We did not adequately vet her background before formally hiring her."

"We did not operate to our own standards here. We will do our best to do better for you," Huffman concluded.

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The controversy kicked off on Wednesday when Reddit suspended a moderator on the community r/UKPolitics after posting an article that mentioned Knight in passing.

Reddit then reversed its ban on the moderator, saying in a statement the moderator has been reinstated after Reddit "incorrectly" removed them. The company said one of its employees was the target of "harassment and doxxing" and it was therefore trying to protect them by removing harassing posts about them.

"Our intent was never to remove any and all mentions of this admin's name," Reddit said in a separate post.

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Reddit communities were angry at how Reddit handled the situation with Knight and began to switch to private in protest.

One Reddit user commented on the company's post: "You've completely ignored the real issue: the person you have hired is, at best, sympathetic to pedophilia."

Reddit didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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The tech company hired Knight in recent months, according to the moderators on r/UKPolitics. Huffman said in his statement that she was first a moderator and then a contractor for its streaming service Reddit Public Access Network.

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