Serena Williams has denied claims that she ‘forced’ husband Alexis Ohanian to donate his Reddit stock gains to the black community after the tech founder resigned from the company’s board in a move to fight racial injustice.
The global tennis star, 38, deviated from her typical weekly ‘Serena Saturdays’ Instagram Live show to interview her husband on his shock announcement.
Ohanian, who shares two-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia with Williams, on Friday revealed he was giving up his seat on the Reddit board and pledged to donate all future gains ‘to serve the black community.’
During the interview, Williams said the pair had briefly spoken about the idea together, but revealed it was Ohanian’s decision to give up his position and funds.
Serena Williams, 38, deviated from her typical weekly ‘Serena Saturdays’ Instagram Live show to interview her husband on his shock announcement
During the live show, Ohanian revealed how being married to a black woman has allowed him to confront his white privilege, which at times have been uncomfortable
‘We talked about it a little bit and I remember telling you, “This is your decision to make ultimately.” Whatever you do I’m going to support you. This is not my decision to make, this is up to you,’ she said.
‘This is all Alexis, which is really cool. A lot of people might think I told you to do something, or that I forced you, or that I was in your ear, have you heard that?
‘He doesn’t listen to me ever,’ she joked.
As part of his promise to donate his gains, Ohanian has pledged $1million to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights campaign, which he said seemed like ‘an obvious’ starting point.
[He] seemed like an obvious first person to reach out to and say, “hey we still have a lot of things to figure out but I want to make sure the first million goes to the work you’re doing”, and he was very gracious in accepting,’ he said.
The 37-year-old also got candid about his experiences with race, revealing how being married to a black woman has allowed him to confront his white privilege, which at times have been uncomfortable.
‘I think this is important for all us in white America, especially men, to get comfortable with that pain.
Ohanian, 37, made the shock announcement in a video uploaded to his Instagram page around midday Friday
‘There are have been so many moments where I’ve even seen things that you’ve had to deal with. Just total bulls**t that you’ve had to deal with, with grace and dignity,’ he said.
‘We’re comfortable with it, we’re too comfortable with it. It’s uncomfortable and we’ve gotten used to being uncomfortable with it,’ Williams replied.
The tech entrepreneur also admitted to never having to face discomfort or insecurity at his job saying ‘at no point in my career did I feel like I was ever in the wrong room, or that I was ever being judged.’
‘And then to see the things that you have to deal with are infuriating. And when I ask my fellow white men, the rich ones …come on guys, we have a duty to lean into that discomfort,’ he added.
Williams also spoke out about her experiences with racism in the sports world and how she’s relied on her faith to get through it.
‘It’s something unfortunately that has become the norm for us. I entered a sport that was all white and it definitely wasn’t easy looking back.
‘It really all just boiled down to my faith and realizing that all this is temporary. What I believe and what the Bible teaches, is that there is so much more waiting if we exercise faith.
The tech founder and investor is married to tennis star Serena Williams and they have a two-year-old daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. (pictured together here)
Williams shared the post on her own social media accounts saying she is ‘so proud of your commitment to not just me but to “us”’
‘I think I’d be very angry, very spiteful, very jealous if I didn’t have this spiritual background,’ she added.
On Friday, Williams shared Ohanian’s post on her own social media accounts saying she is ‘proud’ of her husband.
‘So proud of your commitment to not just me but to “us”,’ she wrote on Twitter alongside a retweet of her husband’s post.
In another Tweet she wrote: ‘Having diverse views on any boards is important. So proud of you Alexis. I know Olympia will be too.’
The shock news comes just days after Reddit’s former CEO Ellen Pao slammed the company when it published an open letter to staff condemning racism, following the death of black man George Floyd at the hands of a white cop in Minneapolis last week.