Reddit Bans Racist, Sexist Community After Being Called Out by Alexis Ohanian

The Reddit co-founder and former board member is in the same position as the rest of us now: reporting abuse from the outside and hoping for the best.
Alexis Ohanian
Screenshot via TechCrunch

After a Twitter call-out from Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Reddit has banned a community dedicated to posting degrading images and comments about Black women.

The subreddit, called r/DegradeEbonyThots, was started in mid-March and had almost 4,000 subscribers. But when Motherboard viewed it following Ohanian's tweet, an automated notification by Reddit said that the subreddit was recently very popular, and suggested adding a post.

reddit popup

"This reddit is dedicated [sic] humiliation and degradation of black women," the description said, and continued with further racist, sexist phrases about Black women. 

The subreddit was banned shortly after we contacted Reddit.

"Reddit has clear site-wide policies that prohibit users and communities from posting content that incite violence or promote hate based on identity or vulnerability," a Reddit spokesperson told Motherboard. "In accordance with this, the community in mention has been banned." 

"The r/DegradeEbonyThots community really should be banned from @Reddit - esp given the recent hate policy changes - thank you, Twitter, for bringing this cesspool to my attention," Ohanian tweeted Tuesday morning, followed by a suggestion for people to use the contact form on Reddit to report future hateful communities. 

In June, Ohanian announced his resignation from Reddit's advisory board, urging the company to replace him with a Black board member—which it did. Reddit named Michael Seibel, Y Combinator CEO and the company's first Black partner, as a new board member days after Ohanian stepped down.  

Ohanian has been vocal about misogyny and hate speech on Reddit for a long time, but the platform allowed communities like r/the_Donald and r/cumtown to grow for years. Three weeks after Ohanian's resignation—and following critical response to Reddit CEO Steve Huffman's letter in support of Black Lives Matter, which rang hollow as abusive communities thrived—Reddit banned more than 2,000 subreddits that it said violated rules against "hate based on identity or vulnerability." 

Somehow, r/DegradeEbonyThots, a community whose stated purpose is racism and degradation, survived that purge.  

Ohanian's tweet suggests that people reported the community to him on Twitter, and that there's not much he can do besides directing people to the reporting form. Now, Ohanian's in the same position normal internet users have been in for years—on the outside, flagging abusive content that lives on Reddit, and hoping the company removes it. 

I've reached out to Ohanian for comment and will update if I hear back.