Ellen Pao vs Victoria Taylor: The Biggest Reddit Drama in History

Update: Since the creation of this article Reddit CEO, Ellen Pao, has resigned. We offer this article as a background to Pao’s resignation.

In case you haven’t heard, Reddit is revolting against itself. Moderators are blacking out subs by setting them to private, there’s a change.org petition to fire the CEO of Reddit, and redditors everywhere are foaming at the mouth with outrage. The obvious question is, “Why?”

Well, because an employee by the name of Victoria Taylor was allegedly fired without informing the moderators. Taylor, who was the director of communications and responsible for coordinating the popular AMA’s, is quickly becoming Reddit’s own Khaleesi.

It all started when user Karmanaut broke the news of Taylor’s dismissal and clarified the moderators had set the AMA subreddit to private in order to figure out the logistics of the sessions. After that, all hell broke loose with other moderators following suit as a sign of protest. Then the netizens threw a tantrum and started attacking Ellen Pao, Reddit’s interim CEO.

What happens in the comment section of the Victoria Taylor threads (which are now deleted) can only be described as white knighting, the practice of coming to the aid of a woman perceived as vulnerable or in need of help, while wearing a fedora and swallowing a giant red pill:

“Because gorious leader Pao kills off any competition before it has a chance. Glorious leader Pao exercizes her right as a dictator to remove any women from her regime. Only traitors would call her misogynist.” –semperverus (Please note: The previous statement is a direct quote which included, what we can only assume is, the misspelling of the word glorious.)

This user is intelligent enough to connect the dots: both Ellen Pao and Kim Jong Un are Asian and that in itself deserves some kind of racial pun – genius!

“What a cunt. How the fuck did she ever get hired, let alone promoted to CEO, at Reddit?” -ACW-R

Indeed. It’s not like Pao has a B.S. from Princeton in electrical engineering or a law degree and MBA from Harvard or anything…

“Pao becomes CEO, everything goes to shit. Subs deleted, all remaining subs’ mods bend over backwards to post new rules adhering to here shitstain, censoring increases, every little thing is bullying now. Pao is literally shitler.” -A_Gigantic_Potato

I don’t know about you, but If I were a CEO of the 24th most visited site in the world, I would definitely spend my time personally deleting subreddits and censoring comments.

“No. Hitler did great things for Germany. Comparing her to Hitler is a joke.” -JP_Rushton

This is too easy.

“Shit I could probably serve as a better CEO than her.” -sandwhale-

Well said, ‘sandwhale-‘. Women make horrible leaders and being Asian is like adding an extra handicap.

“Spam TPP articles” –wamsachel

Yes, a Reddit employee suddenly being fired is more important news than an international measure to give corporations the power to control countries and censor the internet.

“I heard Victoria was fired because she was prettier and more well liked than Pao.” –LeeHarveyShazbot

Nothing gets neckbeards more riled up than pitting women against each other because as we know, the only thing women care about is being attractive to men.

Victoria Taylor wrote this message on her blog and it was re-posted on the comments section:

“I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and just moved to New York by way of Los Angeles. I love cats. My middle name literally means cats. Not to get too philosophical, since we’ve just met, but I think Reddit is like the ocean… everything online, in some way, shape, or form, begins here and ultimately returns here. My favorite subreddits include /r/OneTrueGod, /r/aww, /r/IAmA, /r/LosAngeles (I’ll miss you guys!) and /r/badmovies. I love anyone who loves American Ninja 4, Troll 2, or 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain, or any bad movie with a number in the title…and I’m always looking for recommendations. I’m beyond honored to be joining the team in New York and can’t wait to further educate people on what Reddit is all about.”

And in response to that, Redditors wrote:

“This reminds me of all the times I’ve looked at old pictures of my ex-girlfriends and longed for those days of yore again.” –MarcusRivers

This comment is not creepy at all…If I were a neckbeard, I too would white knight Victoria – we would ride together in my Nissan Bursa, adopt 50 kittens and eat freshly baked muffins while playing Xbox.

The Ellen Pao hate started way before Victoria Taylor was dismissed. Back in early June, when Pao enacted a new rule for administrators to delete abusive or harassing threads, Redditors were calling her a Nazi and demanding for her termination. Now that a popular Reddit employee has been fired and many subs are blacked out, it’s the perfect excuse to put the heat on Pao.

I have a feeling most redditors don’t understand what a CEO’s responsibilities actually are. It’s very unlikely Pao was directly liable for firing an employee of one sub among thousands – most likely, it was a manager. Reddit’s founder and board member, Alexis Ohanian, did not get nearly as much flak as Pao and one can only guess why.

Before her termination, no one knew who Victoria Taylor was. Now her name will go down in Reddit infamy. But it’s clear netizens have fallen in love with the idea of Victoria as the “girl next door” who’s being terrorized by the evil dragon lady. No one besides Reddit’s management team really knows why Taylor was fired, all anyone can do is speculate; and speculation is dangerous. This is proving to be the ultimate Reddit circlejerk, complete with casual racism, and armchair executives.


Will Redditors “jerk” themselves into oblivion until Reddit becomes another Digg?

Additional images: Twitter




Zara Zhi
Zara Zhi
Zara is a freelance writer and filmmaker who has worked for numerous magazines and news sites. When not coming up with puns or writing screenplays, she enjoys having blind children read to her and donating plasma TVs. Follow her on Twitter: @zarazhi