Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has confirmed that controversial admin Aimee Knight (née Challenor) is no longer employed by Reddit. Writing under the handle u/spez, Huffman stated that she wasn’t properly vetted as part of the hiring process and that internal policies would be undergoing adjustment to prevent the actions taken against users and mods that resulted in today’s protests.
Reddit removes Aimee Knight as admin after protests
This controversy began not with Knight herself, but the banning of an r/UKPolitics mod that shared an article that mentioned her in passing. It was this ban that brought to light the automated protections that triggered whenever Knight was mentioned either in comments or linked content. Huffman stated that the protections were in place to protect Knight from “serious cases of harassment and doxxing.”
However, it wasn’t until the r/UKPolitics mod was banned and the reason behind it was discovered that Knight’s hiring met widespread resistance. Knight was previously a minor UK political figure who was associated with the Green Party and Liberal Democrats. In early 2019, Knight was the subject of an investigation due to hiring her father, convicted rapist David Challenor, as an agent during the 2017 general election and 2018 local council elections. In November 2016, Challenor was charged with 22 offenses involving the forced captivity, torture, and rape of a 10-year-old girl. During those two elections, he was out on bail.
As a result of the investigation, the Green Party suspended Knight, and she later resigned. In 2019, Knight found herself in a similar situation when she was suspended by the Coventry Liberal Democrats when a series of pro-pedophilia tweets were discovered that were allegedly written by her then-fiancee (now husband) Nathaniel Knight. It was the discovery of these two incidents that inspired mods to take hundreds of subreddits private in protest.
In the post announcing Knight’s dismissal, Huffman explained that Reddit’s association with Knight began with her being a mod and then as a contractor working on RPAN. The post culminated in an apology and pledged to do better:
“Debate and criticism have always been and always will be central to conversation on Reddit—including discussion about public figures and Reddit itself—as long as they are not used as vehicles for harassment. Mentioning a public figure’s name should not get you banned.
We care deeply for Reddit and appreciate that you do too. We understand the anger and confusion about these issues and their bigger implications. The employee is no longer with Reddit, and we’ll be evolving a number of relevant internal policies.
We did not operate to our own standards here. We will do our best to do better for you.”