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The Rise and Fall of Ellen Pao. Perpetrator or Victim?

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There’s always been an old adage in the advertising world – “All publicity is good publicity” – however the sheer stupidity of that statement is enough to give old PR hands heartburn.

And the prime examples to prove its invalidity are the ups and downs of ex-Reddit interim CEO, Ellen Pao.

Since 2012, Ellen Pao has gone through an unbelievable series of highs and lows worthy of earning its own mini-series, starting with her $16 million case against former employer – Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers.

Her current peak ended on Friday with her resignation from her post at Reddit, in the face of overwhelming negative responses from Redditors’ hivemind, a roughly 213,000 signature-strong petition demanding her resignation on Change.org, and the official reason of differences with higher ups over the future growth rate of the website.

And now, the statements coming in from Reddit Board of Directors and ex-head honchos possibly suggest that Pao may have simply ended up being a patsy for the decisions of others, rendering her pain and humiliation at the hands of disgruntled Redditors entirely pointless.

One obvious fact visible to anyone who followed this high-octane drama over the last month is that none of Pao’s decisions were evaluated at face value, and instead she faced constant uphill battles due to her sexual discrimination (not harassment; there’s a difference, people) lawsuit against KPCB, with accusations of everything from “suing her way to the top” to gilding her own comments on Reddit (the ultimate taboo) flying around left and right.

Over the last few months, we’ve seen this story unfold and encompass everything from gender discrimination in big-money Silicon Valley, to the insidious power of trolls on the Internet.

So, let’s take a quick look at the past few years of Ellen Pao, and let you readers evaluate facts as you would.

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