by Gavin Haynes
Thursday, 25
March 2021
Dark Web
14:00

Silicon Valley reveals its phoney morality yet again

Aimee Challenor's departure shows how cynically tech giants play all sides
by Gavin Haynes
Aimee Challenor was sacked by reddit last night

The trouble began on Tuesday. In a reddit board devoted to UK Politics, r/ukpolitics, a user had linked to a Spectator article. 

The article had been written by Julie Bindel, who, in little more than a glancing aside near the bottom of the piece, mentioned Aimee Challenor, a transgender woman and former Green Party activist. 

Challenor has an extraordinarily dark Wikipedia page, the most uncomfortable sections of which refer to her father’s conviction for child rape. In 2016, while Challenor was running for the deputy leadership of the Greens, she hired her father as her campaign manager — at the same time as he was on bail on 22 charges. This, a Green Party report later concluded, was a ‘major failure of safeguarding’. More recently, Challenor’s husband has posted erotic fiction online about children. 

But Challenor now works for reddit — and the company has policies in place which are designed to prevent the brigading of its employees by angry site users. So the original poster was banned, and subsequent accounts which mentioned Challenor also found themselves nixed. 

This entrained a kind of mass strike by the serfs of reddit, who keep the site ticking over with all their free content and free moderation. Suddenly, over a hundred subreddits had set themselves to ‘private’ (meaning no new users could access them). 

Reddit climbed down. After a couple of earlier attempts at damage limitation, by last night, CEO Steve Huffman was forced to issue a statement that they would no longer be censoring the references. Apparently, it was an ‘automated bot’ that had tripped the initial bannings. And that ‘the employee in question is no longer employed by Reddit’. The statement also noted that the company failed to vet this background ‘before formally hiring her.’  

All of which is a perfect picture of the present inanities of Silicon Valley. 

Either the company knew who Challenor was, but didn’t wish to disbar an individual with such heavily protected characteristics. Or, an org whose data systems are so sophisticated they can delete hundreds of user accounts in real time on the basis of two words, can’t use Google. That a workplace with armies of HR staff, more money than God, operating at the sharp end of the culture wars, in litigious California, would not be running elementary background checks should surely be grounds for Huffman to tender his own resignation too. 

Yet as the game is played, to please a user base with wings that support transgender rights and ones that bridle at limits on free speech, Huffman must now talk out of both sides of his mouth. To please one lobby, he is under pressure to hire people of transgender status and ‘prevent hate’. Yet on the other side, the instinctively libertarian side of reddit fought a famous culture war in 2016 over whether deleting subs like ‘r/jailbait’ (teen girls in sexualised poses) was a case of free speech martyrship. 

In the end, he has insulted both sides. It was Challenor who spearheaded the deletion of some Gender Critical sub-reddits viewed as ‘anti-trans’, via an open letter to the company in 2020. That wave of mass-deletion has in turn re-shaped the moral landscape of the site, and tightened the ratchet on acceptable opinion. Not disagreeing with Challenor has seemingly been reddit policy for a while now. Yet Huffman was prepared to chuck his thought leader out on her ear the moment things got hot. This is what passes for values in the Valley. 

Normally, social media can last out simply by playing all sides a bit. But when all of these conflicting rules directly come together in this case, the mealy mouthed morality of the new media CEO class begins to warp and fold under the pressure. Yet what else is there to do, except carry on, visibly bent, disfigured, incoherent, repugnant? This is what happens when you crowdsource your ethics. 

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Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
1 year ago

Wikipedia leaves out the more disturbing details about Challenor. For example, as a 14 year old, he was in a sexual relationship with two men decades older than him that focused on wearing and using nappies (also one of his father’s favourite activities), as well as forced feminization. All of which he documented on social media. He supposedly wasn’t aware of his father’s activities, yet they both somehow share the same “niche” interests? And Stonewall thinks that this is the person to be sending into schools to teach kids about “diversity”?
Challenor is clearly the victim of systemic child rape. He needs to be in therapy, and everyone else should stop pretending that this is acceptable.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Harvey
Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

The sins of the father in cases like this often pass down through the genes

George Glashan
George Glashan
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

well said, I think your right to a larger degree there should be compassion given what he has gone through as a child.
Theres a freak show aspect to his life now that makes him easy to mock which overlooks a horrible start in life.

Last edited 1 year ago by George Glashan
pattenchris
pattenchris
1 year ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Unfortunately it is still the case of a victim becoming an abuser.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago

This is why we need a bill of rights for access to the modern service sector which protects from discrimination in all its forms. Especially discrimination on political grounds.

We’ve seen free speech curtailed on social media, banks refuse accounts to individuals and groups they politically oppose and platforms in monopoly positions banning books they disagree with.

These are not issues of freedom of association when viable alternatives are not available and access to these sectors is a necessity in the modern world.

Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
1 year ago

Sordid, eh.
What’s still not quite clear after reading the article and observing the header photo is whether the Challenor person is man or woman. (I still cannot figure out which one a “transgender woman” really is. By birth, i mean.)

Warren Alexander
Warren Alexander
1 year ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

Good luck with that one. I’m still trying to work out what reddit is and what it is for.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
1 year ago

I looked in there once (Redit I mean) and was at a total loss TBH

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago

Certainly vindicates Graham Lineham whose arguments with this person has led to his being cancelled.

Jim Costello
Jim Costello
1 year ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

By birth a man called Ashton, now a trans woman called Aimee.

The reddit community got whipped up into a delightfully ferocious frothy laver over censorship on the site, it’s reddit at its best really, but through all the commotion about the challoner/knight concern no one relinked the source article by Julie Bindel.

Reddit is interested in many causes but misogyny towards those who stand and speak up for sex based rights continues to bubble away under the surface.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
1 year ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

You always refer to them as the gender they are now, or what present as; so a trans female would once have been male (to us anyway)

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Thompson
Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
1 year ago

Right, although it seems you’re not even supposed to mention that now, or to use terms like “biologically male” or “biologically female”, even to clarify it to someone confused about the “trans-man / “trans-woman” terminology.

Andrew Denny
Andrew Denny
1 year ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

It seems pretty obvious to me – Aimee Challenor is a man. I think one is entitled to name oneself what one likes, and have people respect that. But pronouns belong to the speaker, not the subject, and the sex one is born into is fixed and immanent – and in 99.99% of cases obvious and not up for discussion.
[ runs and hides 🙂 ]

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Denny
David Fitzsimons
David Fitzsimons
1 year ago

It is really starting to cause me anguish (so far a modicum, no need to call HR yet) that human are expending time and energy on stuff like this. Hey, there are no bigger problems to solve. This is decadence, this is what happens while our species disappears up its own fundament.

David Fitzsimons
David Fitzsimons
1 year ago

I just read Andrew Harvey’s comment. I apologise for belittling a troubled individual.

Hilary Lowson
Hilary Lowson
1 year ago

Keep this up. We should also be looking carefully at who owns a huge portion of Reddit. Disinformation and fuelling dissent may be the name of the game as much as anything.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
1 year ago

This was just one more attempt to bring about political acceptance of MAPs (Minor Attracted People). I’m glad Reddit users of all political persuasions stood their ground on this one.

George Glashan
George Glashan
1 year ago

Good Article, but contains one small lie, and small lies are what give space for big lies, which is partly how Challenor progressed through his careers.

Anne-Marie Mazur
Anne-Marie Mazur
1 year ago

HIS, HIS, HE, HIM, HIS.
Pronouns are sex based and HE is a MALE no matter what HE calls HIMSELF.
Lying to be PC is never a good look and it’s soft-propaganda to normalize this lunacy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Anne-Marie Mazur
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

Perhaps there is an opening in the White House at some level, they seem to have very pronounced hiring guidelines.

George Glashan
George Glashan
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Biden’s got hundred of kids in cages at the mexican border, those kids need guardians. Ashton and his family sound like the perfect progressive fit for that role.

Vóreios Paratiritís
Vóreios Paratiritís
1 year ago

Can we start policing the margin and mainstream again?
Somethings should not be made acceptable.