Reddit Suspends Pro-Donald Trump Forum In Attempt To Crack Down On Hate Speech
Ahead of the ban, President Trump was criticized for retweeting a video in which one of his supporters yells "White power" during a rally.
On Monday, Reddit finally placed a permanent ban on a subreddit called r/The_Donald, which has become home to some of the website's most abhorrent, racist and sexist content, The New York Times reported.
The community of President Donald Trump supporters became a haven for white supremacists and alt-right groups promoting racist content.
Earlier this month, The Washington Post interviewed researchers with content moderation company Sentropy that found r/The_Donald and other right-wing subreddits had three times as much hate speech as left-leaning groups and had six times as much hate speech about white supremacist extremism.
Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, decided to resign from the company's board earlier this month in part because of how the platform affected his wife Serena Williams and his Black daughter, as Blavity previously reported.
“Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people. ‘The_Donald’ has been in violation of that,” Reddit CEO Steve Huffman told Times reporters.
Huffman caused controversy earlier this month when he said the site does "not tolerate hate, racism, and violence, and while we have work to do to fight these on our platform, our values are clear."
He was immediately called out by dozens of people, including Reddit's former CEO Ellen Pao, who wrote on Twitter, "I am obligated to call you out: You should have shut down the_donald instead of amplifying it and its hate, racism, and violence. So much of what is happening now lies at your feet. You don't get to say BLM when reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long."
Just as Reddit was placing a ban on the subreddit, Trump retweeted and then deleted a video this weekend showing a man yelling "White power" at a rally in Florida, according to CNN.
The video was from a June 14 golf cart parade organized by Trump supporters living in The Villages, a retirement community near Orlando. Counter-protesters showed up, and the two sides began shouting at each other before one man in a golf cart repeatedly screamed "White power."
"Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!" Trump wrote, according to The Daily Beast.
The retweet immediately caused outrage on both sides of the aisle. Black South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott was pressed about the retweet during his appearance on CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper.
"There's no question. He should not have retweeted and he should just take it down," the Republican said.
About an hour after Scott appeared on CNN, the retweet had been deleted.
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement that "President Trump is a big fan of the Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters."
During a White House press briefing on Monday, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump was not listening closely and did not hear the "White power" phrase.
McEnany told Fox News once Trump was notified that the man was screaming "White power," he took down the tweet, The Daily Beast reported.
“He stands for them and his point in tweeting out that video was to stand with his supporters, who are oftentimes demonized, so he took it down but he does stand with the men and women of The Villages,” McEnany said.
The retweet comes at a time when the president is facing backlash for his ardent defense of Confederate statues and flags across the country. Since the beginning of the recent Black Lives Matter protests, he has regularly sent out tweets demanding Confederate statues be left up.
Very sad to see States allowing roving gangs of wise guys, anarchists & looters, many of them having no idea what they are doing, indiscriminately ripping down our statues and monuments to the past. Some are great works of art, but all represent our History & Heritage, both....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2020
He spent much of the weekend tweeting out photos of Black people accused of tearing down Confederate statues and statues dedicated to men who owned slaves.
The Post reported that almost 30 Confederate statues have been torn down since protests began. On Friday, Trump signed an executive order that reinforces laws stating touching any statue will lead to 10 years in prison and fines.
"They’re tearing down statues, desecrating monuments, and purging dissenters. It’s not the behavior of a peaceful political movement; it’s the behavior of totalitarians and tyrants and people that don’t love our country," Trump said in a statement after the signing.