The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” Reddit has reportedly fired an administrator identified as UK transgender politician Aimee Challenor after multiple subreddits went dark in protest of Challenor’s position at the site due to his links to a convicted pedophile. The site’s CEO sheepishly admitted, “We did not adequately vet her background before formally hiring her.”
The Verge reports that Reddit recently announced that it has cut ties with an employee identified as former UK politician Aimee Challenor after hundreds of the website’s communities went private in protest of Challenor’s employment.
In a statement, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said:
We would like to give you all an update on the recent issues that have transpired concerning a specific Reddit employee, as well as provide you with context into actions that we took to prevent doxxing and harassment. As of today, the employee in question is no longer employed by Reddit. We built a relationship with her first as a mod and then through her contractor work on [Reddit Public Access Network]. We did not adequately vet her background before formally hiring her.
Debate and criticism have always been and always will be central to conversation on Reddit—including discussion about public figures and Reddit itself—as long as they are not used as vehicles for harassment. Mentioning a public figure’s name should not get you banned.
More than 200 subreddits set their status to private in protest of Challenor’s employment, including r/Music which boasts 27-million members. Moderators of the subreddits were demanding a statement from Reddit on the hiring of Challenor, who was previously suspended from the Green Party after selecting his father — who was convicted of violent sexual assault on a child — as his election agent in a 2017 political campaign.
Challenor, who is transgender, was a Green Party spokesperson and candidate for deputy leadership but was suspended in 2018 amid an inquiry involving his father David Challenor who was convicted that year of raping and torturing a 10-year-old child. Challenor selected his father as his election after he had been arrested and charged with the crime in 2016.
Following the suspension, Challenor stated: “On reflection, I can understand that it was unacceptable for me to appoint my dad as my election agent when he had been arrested. I can now understand the potential risks of that decision.”
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At the time, an independent report noted that as a result of Challenor ‘s actions “someone who had committed serious sexual offenses was given roles of responsibility within the Green Party during a period of almost two years.” Challenor was suspended by the UK Liberal Democrats in 2019 after his now-husband Nathaniel Knight posted comments on Twitter in which he stated that he fantasized about sex involving young children. Challenor alleged at the time that the account had been hacked.
Challenor’s employment at Reddit was focused on after Reddit banned a UK politics subreddit moderator for linking to an article that mentioned Challenor. Reddit reverse the ban and posted an explanatory statement saying that it was fighting a “harassment campaign” against an employee — but failed to mention Challenor by name.
“Earlier this month, a Reddit employee was the target of harassment and doxxing,” the post said. “Reddit activated standard processes to protect the employee from such harassment, including initiating an automated moderation rule to prevent personal information from being shared. The moderation rule was too broad, and this week it incorrectly suspended a moderator who posted content that included personal information.” Reddit didn’t respond to an email requesting comment.
One Reddit moderator commented on the situation saying: “This site still has a major pedophilia problem and a person in the role of ‘community management’ has troubling connections to pedophilia. I don’t think the admin is a pedophile herself, but she has shown in multiple ways that she cannot be trusted to handle the issue properly.”
The moderation team behind r/Music said in a statement that they wanted a public promise from Reddit that it would sever ties with Challenor and that they demanded a “considerable contribution” to charities for victims of child abuse. “We as moderators are volunteers, using one of the only tools we have access to invoke change. It’s our responsibility to lead our communities in a way that would elicit meaningful, measurable improvements from the Reddit admins.”
Read more at the Verge here.
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