William Shatner accuses Reddit of allowing hate speech

11.02.2013 - 16:52

The 81-year-old actor and former captain of the SS Enterprise, William Shatner, has judged the popular forum Reddit as a place which promotes homophobia, sexism and racism.

Shatner, who is a prolific user of social media, joined Reddit in January and wrote on 9 February that: "I am appalled by some of the immature, horifically racist, sexist, homophobic...posts that are just ignored".

His post was entitled 'turning off private messages' and asked for a way to avoid receiving private messages from users. William Shatner added that "Reddit has been the first 'mainstream' site that I have been to that actually appears to allow racists and other hate mongers to congregate".

Shatner's comment has received more than 2,300 upvotes, something that in the forum is considered positive. Besides, the message has opened the discussion into free speech and trolling.

Star Trek celebrity questioned Reddit irresponsibility, writing that "the fact that someone could come here, debase and degrade people based on race, religion, ethnicity or sexual preference because 'they have a right' to do so without worry of any kind of moderation is sending the wrong message."

Reddit users claimed that censorship through moderation goes against site's policies and that internet hate is a downside of freedom of speech.

Some users defended that hateful posts would not be tolerated offline, therefore Reddit offers a platform to feel free and wrote these kind of comments. However, according to other users, “nothing on Reddit is a “free speech zone”, because conversation’s creators can ban posts from the forum to Facebook or Gawker, so moderators can censor hate speech content.

Despite Reddit asks users to not spam, post personal information or upload child pornography, several people affirm that those kind of images are available on the site.

In October 2012, Reddit's CEO Yishan Wong said the site won't remove content, even if "we find it odious or if we personally condemn it".