Aimee Knight (formally Aimee Challenor) has been fired from Reddit after several top subreddits went private yesterday in protest over the handling of her hiring and then subsequent censorship of her name on the site.
A little background on Aimee, and why this is newsworthy:
Aimee Challenor is a British transgender activist, former spokesperson and electoral candidate for the U.K. Green Party. Aimee was suspended by the U.K. Green Party in 2018 after it emerged her father, David Challenor, was appointed by Aimee to be her election agent despite him previously being charged with 22 counts of serious sexual offenses, including taking indecent photographs, false imprisonment, rape and sexual assault of a child in November 2016. Knight had given her father's name as "Baloo Challenor" on campaign materials. In August 2018, David Challenor was convicted and sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Aimee joined the Liberal Democrat party, however, she was suspended from the party in 2019 after her husband, Nathaniel Knight, allegedly shared child sex fantasies online from his Twitter account.
Recently, Reddit chose to hire Aimee as an admin (apparently without a background check...or even a simple Google search about her) and controversy erupted soon after.
The moderator of a popular subreddit r/UKPolitics was permanently suspended for "doxxing" Aimee after an article was posted that contained a "three-word mention" of Knight. There had also been a number of manual removals and direct edits of comments by Reddit staff about Aimee or her father which lead Redditor's to believe that the platform was now censoring and editing posts mentioning her or her family's names.
The UK Politics moderators took the unusual and drastic step of making the sub private, posting the below on r/UKPolitics:
"As we had no idea what had happened, or why posting this article resulted in a permanent suspension, we took the emergency step of making the subreddit private and immediately contacting the admins for clarification... It later became apparent that Reddit has hired this individual as an Reddit admin, and were banning people from discussing her past to protect their employee from harassment."
More than 200 subreddits went private in solidarity with r/UKPolitics over Reddit's hiring choice and censorship of posts. One of the subreddits, r/Conservative raised over $11,000 in donations for the PCAA (Prevent Child Abuse America) while going dark.
As of this morning, Reddit's CEO Steve Huffman has issued a statement confirming the firing of Aimee, saying that Reddit failed to "vet" the employee's background before "formally hiring her."
Huffman said that the platform added extra protections for this employee on March 9th (MARCH 9TH!), including "actioning content that mentioned the employee's name or shared personal information on third-party sites, which we reserve for serious cases of harassment and doxxing."
It's hard to believe that a company like Reddit didn't perform a background check on this employee. Okay, and even if they "failed" at hiring time, why did they continue to back her and censor posts about her since March 9th? All it would take is a simple Google search to show you maybe just maybe this isn't the person you want to fall on your sword for and keep employed. Not only for clear moral reasons but also for their own upcoming IPO.