Sacked Reddit employee Victoria Taylor speaks out

Victoria Taylor
Image caption Victoria Taylor has given her first broadcast interview to BBC Radio 5 live

Former Reddit employee Victoria Taylor has said that her dismissal from the popular website drove her offline.

Speaking in her first broadcast interview since her firing in July, she told BBC Radio 5 live that she had consciously avoided being online during the "hubbub".

Her firing sparked huge protests from the community of users and led to chief executive Ellen Pao resigning.

Social news site Reddit is one of the most widely-used sites on the web.

Of her sacking, Ms Taylor said: "I dealt with it as best as I could. Being offline was actually really helpful to me."

Being thrust into the spotlight was "surreal", she added.

"The most surreal moment was when there was a photographer that was following me around."

Turbulent times

It remains unclear why Ms Taylor was sacked but her firing threw the Reddit community into uproar, with moderators shutting down popular parts of the site in protest.

At the time interim chief executive Ellen Pao was blamed but her predecessor, Yishan Wong, has since suggested that it had been the decision of Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder and board member.

Ms Taylor co-ordinated the 'Ask me Anything" forum, a popular section of Reddit run in conjunction with volunteer moderators.

The forum had more than 8.6 million subscribers and hosted question and answer sessions with a range of high-profile public figures including President Barack Obama

The internet message board that boasts more than 160 million monthly visitors had already had a turbulent time with many unhappy with the direction Ms Pao was taking the site.

Clampdowns on some of the less savoury discussion boards prompted protests that it was censoring freedom of speech.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Former chief executive Ellen Pao was only in the post for eight months

Ms Pao's appointment came off the back of a high profile lawsuit that she had taken out against her former employers Kleiner Perkins. In it she had claimed unfair dismissal and highlighted a culture of sexism at the firm. She lost the case.

She resigned from Reddit in July after 200,000 users called for her dismissal.

Ms Taylor did not speak directly about Ms Pao but said that during such times it was "important to remember the human online and offline".

She also thanked her supporters and added: "So many people have been so kind and sent me wonderful messages and positive support."

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