Alexis Ohanian, husband of world renown tennis player Serena Williams and co-founder of Reddit, on Friday (June 5), announced his resignation from the company’s board, stating he was stepping down and urged the company to replace him with a black candidate, as CNBC reports. “I’m writing this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: ‘What did you do?’” Ohanian wrote on his website. While some celebrities took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd and others made sizeable donations towards the #BlackLivesMatter cause, Serena Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian made the bold move to show his support.
He pledged to using his future dividends from his Reddit stocks to serve the black community while focusing on combating racism. First, on Ohanian’s agenda is a $1 million donation to former NFL player and activist Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp. “I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership from people in power right now. To everyone fighting to fix our broken nation: do not stop,” Ohanian said. In 2005, Ohanian co-founded Reddit and sold the company to Conde Nast in 2006. In 2015, Ohanian and co-founder Steve Huffman returned to Reddit full time; however, in 2018, Ohanian stepped back from a day-to-day role while continuing to serve on the board.
Ohanian isn’t new to fighting for the causes of African Americans. In the past, he has constantly had to defend his choice to marry outside of his race. Of Armenian and German descent, Ohanian would often slam critics of his marriage to Williams. Furthermore, he would come to his wife’s defense whenever she would be subjected to a racist attack such as when a racist cartoon of Williams was published after her explosive encounter with an official during the 2018 US Open. Following his resignation from the Reddit board, he sat down with his wife to discuss this decision, which he made solely and without his wife’s prompting.
Ohanian expressed his worry over what their daughter will be up against in the future and sympathized with his wife who’s had to stand this all her life.
Williams assured him that she coped with this “normal” by leaning on her faith. She also said their daughter will be proud of what he did to show solidarity for the Black community.
Story Martin Reynolds