Ellen Pao

Ex-Reddit Boss Ellen Pao Wages War Against Peter Thiel Over His Donations to Trump

By Lukas Mikelionis | 3:56 pm, October 17, 2016

Ex-Reddit boss and Silicon Valley social justice warrior Ellen Pao has become embroiled in a feud with PayPal founder Peter Thiel over his donations to Donald Trump’s campaign.

In a blog post titled “Peter Thiel, YC and Hard Decisions,” Pao attacks Thiel over his $1.25 million donation to Trump, and announces that her company is cutting ties with him and thus Y Combinator, a powerful startup factory.

She wrote: “Today, we struggle to rationalize Peter Thiel’s power and influence as he moves further and further out there. We were confused by his seasteading funding, angered by his negative views on women’s voting rights, amused by his reported fixation with living to 120, and annoyed by his keynoting the Republican National Convention.”

What really pushed Pao to cut ties with Thiel at Y Combinator, an incubator that helped to launch such tech giants like Airbnb and Dropbox, is his outrageous donation to Trump. Meanwhile, Y Combinator’s president, Sam Altman, published a tweetstorm this weekend defending his decision to retain ties with Thiel, a Y Combinator adviser, despite pressure from Pao and others.

The ex-Reddit CEO claims she believes “in the ideas of free speech” and doesn’t think people should be “fired for their political views”—but she “draws a line” at donating to a major political candidate whose views, according to her, are “fueled by hate and encouraging violence.”

“This [donating to Trump] isn’t a disagreement on tax policy, this is advocating hatred and violence,” she wrote.

While Pao just pretends to believe in free expression, Altman actively supports it: He said he won’t cut ties with Thiel for “supporting a major party nominee” because “that’s a dangerous path start down.”

During her unpopular tenure as interim Reddit CEO, Ellen Pao sparked an all-out revolt by its users calling for her resignation after the controversial firing of a well-liked employee and banning numerous popular subreddits, one of which had more than 150,000 subscribers. The revolt forced her to resign from the position.

In 2012, Pao also sued her former employer, Kleiner Perkins, for gender discrimination. She claimed the firm has discriminated against her because of her gender, and retaliated against her for reporting gender bias at the company. She lost and dropped the case in 2015.

Ellen, when will you learn?