[Discussion] Recent Reddit Dumpster Fire (CW - pedophilia)

Current events surrounding Reddit's hiring of a questionable individual.

Reddit hired a woman from the UK who was "a Green Party spokesperson and a candidate for deputy leadership. But she was suspended in 2018 amid an inquiry involving her father David Challenor — who was convicted that year of raping and torturing a 10-year-old child. [The woman] had selected Challenor as her election agent after he had been arrested and charged with the crime in 2016. “On reflection, I can understand that it was unacceptable for me to appoint my dad as my election agent when he had been arrested. I can now understand the potential risks of that decision,” she wrote after the suspension."

(source article from The Verge)

A mod in /r/ukpolitics linked to a newspaper article about her, and was promptly banned from Reddit for doxxing a Reddit admin. Many subreddits went dark to protest this ban.

The fact that this woman is a trans woman has caused all the transphobic scum on the site to scurry out from under the wainscoting and start flinging poo.

Now Reddit management is tapdancing backward, both about the ban and about their hiring practices.


~mod~
Just an fyi - I added a CW to your title
mudbunny

Good idea, sorry I didn't think of it.

That is so complex and has so many nuances that I'm having real trouble figuring out what my opinion is.

Basically: she hired her father to work on her campaign after he was arrested for extremely serious pedophilic crimes, and didn't tell her party. During the resulting kerfuffle, she resigned from the Greens citing transphobia, and later joined the LibDems. Then, years later, her husband tweeted a bunch of pedophilic stuff and she was kicked out of the LibDems.

So that's really it; she's been pedophile-adjacent on two occasions. I'm unaware of any allegations that she herself knew about any activity by either person, and in the case of her husband, he was talking about fantasies, not real actions that had been taken. In other words, she was kicked out for 'yuck factor', not because of anything she or her partner actually did.

Then Reddit hired her. But then started banning anyone who said "Aimee Knight" or linked to anything containing "Aimee Knight", which turned everything into a total sh*tfest. People are mad about the ban, not so much about Knight. Redditors worked around it by called her Aimee Challenor (her maiden name), and between the summary bans and the transphobia, the storm got absolutely insane. Lots of subreddits went dark, and a fair number of the remainders had highly-upvoted posts about her that dominated the main page.

So then Reddit fired her.

As far as I can see, almost everyone involved in this was a complete sh*thead. Knight probably comes off as the least sh*tty one.

I strongly suspect that the furor would have been minimal if she'd been cis, male, or both.

Malor wrote:

So that's really it; she's been pedophile-adjacent on two occasions.

That's it? I think you're seriously underselling her actions here. She hired a man who tortured and raped a 10 year old to her campaign team. How would you feel if Joe Biden hired Paul Bernardo to be his campaign manager for the 2024 election?

Djinn wrote:
Malor wrote:

So that's really it; she's been pedophile-adjacent on two occasions.

That's it? I think you're seriously underselling her actions here. She hired a man who tortured and raped a 10 year old to her campaign team. How would you feel if Joe Biden hired Paul Bernardo to be his campaign manager for the 2024 election?

Pedophiles are very good at hiding their actions, and I think it's entirely possible that she simply didn't believe the cops more than her dad. And note that this was after arrest but before conviction; she might well have believed he would prevail.

And I really don't see how any of this disqualifies her from working at reddit.

Malor wrote:

And I really don't see how any of this disqualifies her from working at reddit.

It doesn't. However, it does make her news:

BadKen wrote:

Reddit hired a woman from the UK who was "a Green Party spokesperson and a candidate for deputy leadership."

A mod in /r/ukpolitics linked to a newspaper article about her, and was promptly banned from Reddit for doxxing a Reddit admin.

Maybe we should have Reddit hire Donald Trump. Then they can ban anyone who links to an article about him ever again.

The banning was automated and was based on posting her name. Though I think it's a bad idea I can kind of understand it, since she has a unique name and is a potential target of harassment. It was definitely Reddit going too far on protecting its employee IMO.

(Edit: The technical merits and pros/cons of Reddit's ban algorithm are as far as I'm willing to judge this complicated cluster of a situation. Not that my judgement is meaningful anyway.)

Malor wrote:

Pedophiles are very good at hiding their actions, and I think it's entirely possible that she simply didn't believe the cops more than her dad. And note that this was after arrest but before conviction; she might well have believed he would prevail.

You think it's okay to hire a man who was charged and arrested for torturing and raping a child just because the trial hasn't happened yet? Even Aimee herself disagrees with you because she falsified her father's name to protect his identity.

And I really don't see how any of this disqualifies her from working at reddit.

Of course it disqualifies her. You don't hire someone to be a public facing admin of a website used by millions of teens and kids who has, at best, questionable connections to pedophiles. She not only hired her father (twice!) under false names to hide his identity, but she also married a man who tweeted this.

I fantasise about children having sex, sometimes with adults, sometimes with other children, sometimes kidnapped and forced into bad situations.
Malor wrote:
Djinn wrote:
Malor wrote:

So that's really it; she's been pedophile-adjacent on two occasions.

That's it? I think you're seriously underselling her actions here. She hired a man who tortured and raped a 10 year old to her campaign team. How would you feel if Joe Biden hired Paul Bernardo to be his campaign manager for the 2024 election?

Pedophiles are very good at hiding their actions, and I think it's entirely possible that she simply didn't believe the cops more than her dad. And note that this was after arrest but before conviction; she might well have believed he would prevail.

And I really don't see how any of this disqualifies her from working at reddit.

It probably wouldn't matter if she wasn't a public figure as no one would know any of this. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

I would absolutely have a hard time hiring someone who ran for public office and hired their dad after he was charged with rape, etc.

All of the crap pulled on them from TERFs and other anti-trans stuff is horrific, but there's absolutely issues with the hire. Is it bigger and more f-ed up than it needs to be? Absolutely.

Djinn wrote:
Malor wrote:

Pedophiles are very good at hiding their actions, and I think it's entirely possible that she simply didn't believe the cops more than her dad. And note that this was after arrest but before conviction; she might well have believed he would prevail.

You think it's okay to hire a man who was charged and arrested for torturing and raping a child just because the trial hasn't happened yet? Even Aimee herself disagrees with you because she falsified her father's name to protect his identity.

And I really don't see how any of this disqualifies her from working at reddit.

Of course it disqualifies her. You don't hire someone to be a public facing admin of a website used by millions of teens and kids who has, at best, questionable connections to pedophiles. She not only hired her father (twice!) under false names to hide his identity, but she also married a man who tweeted this.

I fantasise about children having sex, sometimes with adults, sometimes with other children, sometimes kidnapped and forced into bad situations.

You're flipping out about 'yuck factor'... how dare someone have fantasies I don't like!

As long as he's not actually harming any kids, the fantasies themselves are meaningless.

The purpose of laws against pedophilia are to protect children, not your delicate sensibilities.

Yeah I have to agree that there’s a difference between giving someone the benefit of the doubt and enabling pedos. I personally would not hire someone like that for a major position, nor would I ban a customer for complaining about her unless it veered into transphobic garbage. (Which from Ken’s comment makes it sound like that didn’t happen.)

Then again, this just feeds into my belief Reddit needs to be nuked from orbit.

Malor wrote:

You're flipping out about 'yuck factor'... how dare someone have fantasies I don't like!

As long as he's not actually harming any kids, the fantasies themselves are meaningless.

The purpose of laws against pedophilia are to protect children, not your delicate sensibilities.

...he's a pedophile. Yes, I do agree that pedophiles who haven't committed any crimes should receive help for their mental illness and be treated with compassion, but he's still a pedophile. The fact that you're trying to equate pedophilia with normal sexual fantasies is disgusting. He's a pedophile who fantasizes about kidnapping and raping children -- that should not be normalized as a healthy sexual fantasy.

Not only does he have those fantasies, but he posts publicly about his pedophilia fantasies on his twitter account. That is seriously f*cked up and harmful.

So, yuck, you don't like his fantasies. They're not normal, so it's okay to demonize him and think of him as less than you are.

What goes on in his head doesn't matter. What matters is whether children are harmed. His fantasies cannot harm children. Only actions can.

I, for instance, like women. By your standard, I can't be trusted alone in a room with any woman, because who knows what I might do? I could do all kinds of horrific stuff.

There are lots of people into rape play. Does that mean they will be actual rapists?

Nearly all adults are able to separate fantasy from reality, and not act on their fantasies in harmful ways. That includes pedophiles.

You being disgusted is your problem. It is not attached to physical reality. In particular, you shouldn't be able to drive someone out of a job because you're grossed out by the fantasies of someone else.

~ mod ~

If this discussion continues from here, it should be made clear that pedophilia, be it real or fictional, is bad. People who feel that defending pedophilia (real or fantasy) is a hill they want to die on want to be real, real careful what they say.

(Yes, the idea that pedophilia, be it real or fantasy, is bad is a hill I am willing to die on.)

mudbunny

I remain of the opinion that fantasies and sex play among consenting adults are perfectly fine, no matter what those fantasies are.

I don't have the right to tell you how to have sex. As long as children and non-consenting adults are not being harmed, it's none of my business. (heh, "none of my f***ing business" also works there.)

Even if your particular kink is aimed toward non-consenting people (ie, rape), or children, who cannot consent by definition (pedophilia), as long as you don't actually do those things, it's not a problem.

Firing people for yuck factor, especially because you don't like the fantasies of someone who's not them, is way out of bounds IMO.

The laws and moral imperative against pedophilia exist to protect children. If children are not being harmed, then neither factor is relevant.

The pushback is not about the yuck factor, it's about giving people platforms who do these kinds of evil and debase things the recognition and validation of normalicy that they do not deserve by downplaying and dismissing it as "all in one's head" or "just fantasy."

This isn't about what adults do with other consenting adults behind closed doors, so don't mistake the two wildly different things at play here for the same thing. It's about the perception of tolerance for intolerable acts by the people who are looking to validate their desires or behaviour towards the unwilling and underage.

I spent several years working in and around the sex industry. Consent, fantasy, and several different levels of depravity between adults is one thing. This reddit issue stinks of predation and validation-seeking, frankly neither of which I'm interested in entertaining for the sake of discussion.

Another thing that made me shake my head about this whole thing was the fact that Reddit's continuing tolerance for hate speech has turned it into a tinder box for any controversy like this. One of the reasons this blew up so quickly was that transphobic Redditors felt empowered to spew their bile.

Reddit management's continuing worship of absolute free speech while wagging fingers and taking ineffectual actions against a few communities needs to stop before it turns into Facebook. At least it's still possible to curate your experience on Reddit, but they keep rolling out discovery features that one day are going to bite them in the ass.

Essentially, it's in the same vein as the letting-nazis-in-pubs problem.

The pushback is not about the yuck factor, it's about giving people platforms who do these kinds of evil and debase things the recognition and validation of normalicy that they do not deserve by downplaying and dismissing it as "all in one's head" or "just fantasy."

So you're saying that it's not just fantasy? That this man will eventually abuse children?

Malor wrote:
The pushback is not about the yuck factor, it's about giving people platforms who do these kinds of evil and debase things the recognition and validation of normalcy that they do not deserve by downplaying and dismissing it as "all in one's head" or "just fantasy."

So you're saying that it's not just fantasy? That this man will eventually abuse children?

No. I bolded and underlined the part I'm saying since you quoted it. But feel free to jump to that conclusion if it brings you comfort. I do not care to make assumptions about what that person does or may do or not do because I do not know them. Don't care to waste my time thinking about the motivations of the kinds of people who have that problem. My concerns lie in not creating, maintaining, or approving of spaces that pedophiles feel acceptance or acknowledgment.

If you want to keep digging, go ahead. I've said all I've wanted to say. I have to get back to work so I need to walk away for now. A lack of a response is not about you or this conversation so much as needing to prioritize other things.

Malor wrote:

Firing people for yuck factor, especially because you don't like the fantasies of someone who's not them, is way out of bounds IMO.

She was employed as a community moderator of a social media site that a few years back had to literally ban a subreddit called r/jailbait and then implement a rule specifically banning sexually explicit content involving minors.

It's a tremendous understatement to say that her previous actions and judgement were questionable--she gave her father a job *after* he was charged with raping and torturing a 10 year-old (charges he was later convicted of), which was further compounded by her marrying a guy who publicly posted his sexual fantasies involving children.

If her job at reddit was a developer or something hidden away then *maybe* you could make the argument that she herself did nothing wrong (you know, except for hiring a guy who raped and tortured a child), what happened has no impact whatsoever on her job responsibilities, and she shouldn't be fired.

But her job was a community moderator. Her job was literally about judgement and being able to enforce community standards. Her previous actions and judgement show that's either something she's incapable of or, from the outside, it looks like she's incapable of. And a moderator who the company or the community can't trust isn't going to be effective.

I mean would you feel comfortable hiring someone to weed out racist content who gave their father a job after he was charged with torturing and lynching a Black person and who later married a guy who made social media posts about how he wishes slavery and the Third Reich were things again? Or would you rightly conclude that their judgement was clouded and far too racist-adjacent not to personally suspect them and just hire someone who didn't have such a questionable history?

OG_slinger wrote:

I mean would you feel comfortable hiring someone to weed out racist content who gave their father a job after he was charged with torturing and lynching a Black person and who later married a guy who made social media posts about how he wishes slavery and the Third Reich were things again? Or would you rightly conclude that their judgement was clouded and far too racist-adjacent not to personally suspect them and just hire someone who didn't have such a questionable history?

But what if they made a super good Javascript page and really needed the money? You have to take that into consideration.

OG_slinger wrote:

stuff

Thank you. You said what I was trying to say so much better than I did. Great post and I agree with every word.

Malor wrote:
The pushback is not about the yuck factor, it's about giving people platforms who do these kinds of evil and debase things the recognition and validation of normalicy that they do not deserve by downplaying and dismissing it as "all in one's head" or "just fantasy."

So you're saying that it's not just fantasy? That this man will eventually abuse children?

So while I can see where you're coming from about how having the fantasy is a very different thing than doing the act, the part I can't get past is that he's publicly posting them. That is something that does need to have consequences, not because it grosses others out, but because it seeks to normalize reprehensible behavior as "just another fetish". Think of it as "representation matters" but for a bad thing.

I've been thinking on this. There are different facets that can be honed in on.

Sexism. Transphobia. These are abhorrent. Even when centred toward an undesirable individual, or a troubled individual. I have little patience and less respect for those espousing gender identity, sexual preference, race, colour, or creed, as a focus for determining factors in such matters.

I tread carefully for fear of being labelled as a misogynist, or a transphobe, or even as condescending and patronizing. Professional victimhood. False flagging. These cards are always on hand to undermine, to manipulate, to flip the script. Although, realistically, I don't see this instance gaining traction as such.

I can also see what Malor is defending. Thoughts. Actions. These are separate. This is not Minority Report. Nevertheless, I believe certain subjects should not be shared openly, let alone upon a far reaching platform. Paedophilia would be one such subject.

Amoebic wrote:

Essentially, it's in the same vein as the letting-nazis-in-pubs problem.

This highlights my reasoning. Such things cannot and should not ever become normalized.

In private. With a professional. If ever. That's it. Not in public. Not on social media. Apparel that depicts support falls within those same confines.

As for hiring someone charged with the torture and rape of a child. Yeah. No. That needs to be waited out. If found innocent. Maybe. Until then. Nope.

I believe she is matter of factly disqualified from that position at Reddit. I believe the spouse is a possible case to be deplatformed from Twitter. And that's not something I say lightly. I loathe cancel culture. (Where did the thread go? Was there context for shame? Was there a follow-up in search of help?)

Unsure if anyone cares. It's been covered better and more comprehensively by now. Still. It was taking up headspace and I needed to offload it.

Look. There's no both-sidesing these issues when people are clearly exhibiting behaviours where they're signaling their taboos, intents, and their history of activity is made public. Bringing up false flagging and professional victimhood and then immediately dismissing it reads a lot like trying to suggest a grey area around the issue or cast doubt when there really isn't any.

This thread has been weighing on me all day. It continues to be gross and uncomfortable. The doubt, questioning, and defending of things that are clearly abhorrent is incredibly disturbing and really not acceptable. The course of this unfortunate conversation has played out. If any further discussion of this happens elsewhere on the forums, please report it. I don't want this here.