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Two Weeks After Content Policy Update, Reddit's Head of Community, Jessica Moreno, Has Left the Company (Updated)

Moreno is the fourth senior female employee to leave the company in less than a month.

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Reddit’s head of community, Jessica Moreno, has left the company. She is the fourth senior female employee to exit in less than a month.

Moreno and her husband, former Reddit product boss Dan McComas, joined the company in 2011 when their gift-exchange service, RedditGifts, was acquired by Reddit. Reddit and Moreno confirmed news of the departure to Re/code in separate statements provided by the company, saying that Moreno plans to return to Salt Lake City to spend time with her family. Neither Moreno nor Reddit specified who would replace her, but Moreno said she’s “working with [CEO] Steve [Huffman] on a transition plan.”

In her statement, Moreno didn’t mention anything related to gender discrimination. Her exit is the latest by a female higher-up at the social news site at a time when the company’s efforts to rein in the most toxic elements of its community have been in the spotlight.

In early July, Reddit parted ways with admin Victoria Taylor. Shortly thereafter, interim CEO Ellen Pao left the company. A few days after that, so did engineering chief Bethanye Blount.

Blount told Re/code she was leaving because she felt the company couldn’t deliver on the promises it was making publicly related to community management and harassing content. Blount also said that gender discrimination was likely a factor in Ellen Pao’s departure from Reddit, although it didn’t contribute to her own or Victoria Taylor’s exit.

Two weeks ago, Reddit’s co-founder and new CEO Steve Huffman announced a new content policy for Reddit that attempted to clarify what “offensive content” was acceptable to post on the site. Huffman said that content that incites harassment (like r/FatPeopleHate or r/rapingwomen) is bannable, but subreddits such as the white supremacist haven r/CoonTown are permissible because their hateful discussions supposedly don’t go beyond the realm of theory.

Aside from a submission to r/PigeonDrawings yesterday, Moreno last posted on the site more than a week and a half ago, responding to queries about the new content policy.

You can read both the full statements below:

From Jessica Moreno:

I have enjoyed my time at Reddit but after four years I feel that it’s time for me to move on. While I am working with Steve on a transition plan, I am looking forward to taking time off to spend with my family. It was a difficult decision to make right now as Reddit is taking difficult steps in a much needed positive direction. I’m excited to see the progress being made and glad I could be a part of it.

From Reddit:

Jessica is going to return to Salt Lake City to be with her family, but we’ve yet to settle on a date. We’re grateful for her invaluable contributions to our community, from Secret Santa to industry-leading policy changes, and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

Update: In a comment on Reddit, Moreno gave further details about her departure. Her initial post is below, but you can see her responses to a few questions by clicking through.

Hi everyone.
I did not make an announcement as I’m a really private person. I don’t like attention and having the media involved is super uncomfortable : (
There is a transition in place. I am working with Spez [CEO Steve Huffman] and the new head of community as I leave. I don’t want to announce the person since I’m not sure if they are ready yet. That will be it’s own announcement. Re/code makes it sound like I left abruptly but I haven’t.
My departure has to do with my own life outside of work and nothing internal at reddit. It has nothing to do with the policy changes or being a woman. The author couched facts between sentences meant to inspire speculation.
I have really loved being with reddit and I’m sad to go. Staying just doesn’t work with the rest of my life right now.
I just want to clear up any speculation or misconceptions about this. I assure you that you will be in good hands after I leave. Better than my own, actually.

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