Friday, July 31, 2015

TGIF FEATURE NO. 2: KCON 2015 USA is happening this weekend!

SUMMER IS over half over and your starting to thing about school. Hold on! If you're in the L.A. area, hurry on over to the Staples Center to check out KCON 2015 - LA, a three day festival of K-POP -- full of high-energy artists and workshops. Tickets and information here.

Normally the TGIF FEATURE will showcase an event or artist but this event is HUGE! so we couldn't go further into the weekend without mentioning it, in case you're wondering where your teenagers have disappeared to this weekend. 

From their press release:
KCON USA is the original convention dedicated to bring “All Things Hallyu” to the American fan base. With three years of successful concerts and conventions under our belt, we strive to make each year bigger and better than the last, and we hope to exceed last year’s record of 43,000 fans in attendance.
Our goal is to bring even more of what makes KCON the most exciting fan convention in North America.
KCON is the only place you can interact with your favorite stars and fangirl in-sync at spectacular concerts, stimulating panels, and dynamic workshops– only at KCON!
KCON is also becoming a valuable platform for industry professionals to connect with their audience, create content, and expand the Hallyu community. It’s the one place where every element of Hallyu, from food to film to fashion, can be experienced and celebrated.
Have a great weekend!!!! Bring earplugs.

The KPop concerts are on Saturday and Sunday with a full slate of entertainment. Here is a sampling of the L.A. lineup:

Thursday, July 30, 2015

TGIF FEATURE: Hailee Steinfeld duet with Shawn Mendes

ACTRESS Hailee Steinfeld, a Filipino/American, recorded an acoustic duet with teen heartthrob Shawn Mendes, one of Vine's breakout stars. The Academy Award-nominated actress (True Grit) demonstrated her singing ability in the motion picture Pitch Perfect 2. The young lady can sing!

In fact, the 18-year old star sang so well in Pitch Perfect 2 that she was offered a record contract with Republic Records, the same company that records her friend Taylor Swift. (You might have heard of her.) Hailee's new up-tempo single, "Love Myself," will be released August 7.

In the video, which was posted to YouTube on July 28, Hailee and Shawn perform an acoustic version of Mendes' hit "Stitches." This version is better than the original, don't you think?

Have a great weekend!

Hailee Steinfeld was only 13 when she filmed True Grit with co-star Jeff Bridges.

The International Hotel lives on: funding needed for community programs

IT HAS BEEN 38 years since the forceful eviction of scores of elderly Filipinos and Chinese from San Francisco's International Hotel, the last bastion of old Manilatown.

The Manilatown Heritage Foundation was founded in 1994 to preserve the legacy of the historic Manilatown district of San Francisco and to preserve the legacy of the 1977 International Hotel Eviction. 

The foundation currently produces family-friendly, working-class affordable and community-sustaining educational programs in the areas of Arts & Culture, Historic Manilatown History & Legacy, Health & Wellness and Affordable Housing Advocacy.

In order to continue to offer these services and programs the foundation has launched a fundraiser through Booster, so even if you're in Europe, Alaska, Chicago or the Eastern Seaboard, you can help keep these programs free. The goal is to raise $5000 by August 18. The first 50 donations will get a commemorative yellow t-shirt with the iconic I-Hotel logo used during the struggle to preserve the hotel.

Originally used in the 1970s as a symbol of community solidarity around the I-Hotel eviction protests, the Tiger Logo is an iconic symbol for the I-Hotel community. The yellow and red T-shirt being featured this summer matches the Tiger Logo textile used during the 1977 protests and which continues to be displayed at the I-Hotel Center as one of its beloved artifacts. 

With the August 4th Eviction Commemoration just days away and with 2015 being the 10-year anniversary of our new International Hotel, this shirt would be a great way to show your continued support for affordable housing and tenants rights.

August 4th is an important historical date that ignited the Tenants Rights Movement in the United States. Over 3,000 people created a human barricade on August 4, 1977 to prevent the eviction of 196 mostly Filipino and Chinese low-income senior tenants of the International Hotel residential complex.

Equally important was that the I-Hotel became a rallying cry for scores of young Asian Americans by honoring their elders and learning about their past; all of which was nurtured by the growing Asian American student movement on college campuses that led to the Third World Student Strikes in the late 1960s and eventually to the creation of ethnic studies at various U.S. colleges.

The hotel struggle touched a nerve with many young people of the day. Among the veterans of that youth movement are current San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who was a young lawyer at the time of the evictions, and Superior Court Judge Rod Quidachay, who was a student leader at San Francisco State. Many others entered into careers in education, social services, journalism and politics to continue serving the community. 

Ultimately, the I-Hotel was torn down and remained as an empty pit for decades (So what was the rush in tearing it down?). Ironically, on the site today is affordable housing. That is where MHF has its home base as the I-Hotel Manilatown Center, located at the site of the original International Hotel: 868 Kearny Street, San Francisco, California. 

Long live the I-Hotel.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

We're cheering for the new Asian/American hero in 'Into the Badlands'

Daniel Wu's character will present a new image of Asian American males to America's TV viewers. 

I'M KIND of excited to see the upcoming television series Into The Badlands starring Asian/American Daniel Wu. 

Wu was born in Berkeley, California. His acting career took off in Hong Kong where he found plenty of work as an actor, director, producer and scholar in the Chinese martial arts discipline of wushu. 

In the bustling Hong Kong movie industry, he has been featured in more than 60 films and won the Hong Kong prize as Best Director for his 2006 feature, The Heavenly Kings, his directorial debut.

Into The Badlands is loosely based on the Chinese tale Journey to the West: a warrior travels through a land ruled by feudal warlords except the story has been transferred to a dystopian landscape of a post-apocalypse America.  The environment is similar to that period in feudal Japan when there were a host of masterless samurai, or ronin, selling their swords to local warlords or shoguns. 

The trailer below generated a lot of buzz at the recent ComicCon held in San Diego earlier this summer.

Like many new action-oriented shows, Badlands' trademark will be the fight scenes using the martial arts skills Wu developed in his Hong Kong career. Martial arts works because in the world of Badlands, guns are banned, hence swords, kicks and punches become the weapons of choice.

Because there is an emphasis on fight scenes, the producers have brought over Master Dee Dee as the show's martial arts coordinator. He is well known in the Hong Kong movie industry for his choreographed fights. Actors in Badlands must undergo rigorous training to survive the fight scenes and to make them look realistic. See the video above.

Wu was able to convince his friend, Vietnamese American Cung Le, into joining the cast of  Badlands. Le, out of San Jose gained fame in the fighting circles using his martial arts skills. I'm not sure if Le will be a good guy or a bad guy.

Wu's debut on American television makes him the first Asian/American male to be the main lead in a TV action series since ... well ... Dean Cain as Superman in Lois and Clark. which had a five-season run, 1993-1997, on ABC. However, in that case, Cain, who was born Dean George Tanaka, wasn't portraying an Asian. He was playing an undocumented alien from the planet Krypton.

Apologies to all the other Asian/American actors who are currently on TV in comedic or secondary roles, your "representation" is much appreciated; but its been a long time since an Asian/American played a genuinely heroic lead character. 

Into the Badlands was picked up by AMC but that network must be hedging its bets since they only contracted for six episodes. So, be sure to tell your friends to watch it when it debuts in November.  

Based on the behind-the-scenes clip of the actors training for their fight scenes, the action is going to be spectacular - on par with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

I only hope that as much attention was spent on the writing as was given to the fight scenes. The question in my mind: will the hero get the girl; or will he be one of those one-dimensional fighting dudes that (mostly) white writers like to create for non-threatening  Asian men?

On this front there is some hope. Wu said no matter how good the martial arts are, the key is to have a good, compelling story: “We wanted the storyline to be as good, if not better, than the action scenes.”


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Immigrant dreams turn into a nightmare of lies and deceit for Canadian family

AS ASIAN AMERICANS, many of us have felt the pressure to be the perfect child, to excel in academics, to have a lucrative career by meeting your parent's high expectations. 

Somehow, most of us learn to deal with those expectations and to become our own person. I felt that to please my parents, I would become an architect. I was good in art, pretty good in math and I had learned to skew all those aptitude tests to direct me to a career I wanted since I was a wee child.

In my second year at Cal, I was in the College of Environmental Design and felt I was on the way to fulfilling my dream to become an architect ... or what I thought was my parents' dream. Then during the campus strikes over the Kent State shootings, I found myself putting out a newsletter for all the striking students in my college. I discovered writing came easy for me and I enjoyed having a voice in the discussions of the time.

To cut a long story short, by my last year, I had already decided I was not going to become an architect. I would write screenplays. I would write novels, short stories, essays. I never thought of becoming a journalist, but that is what I eventually found myself becoming. I loved it!

Most of us learn to cope with our immigrant parents' desire for their children to have a better life than one their own; and all the sacrifices they made for their children.

Sometimes, there are a few who do everything they can to make our parents' dreams come true -- even if its through a tangled web of lies and deceit.

The Toronto Sun has a mesmerizing story about one such person titled Jennifer Pan's Revenge. Jennifer Pan concocted a complex life based on the image of that perfect child, that perfect student - except it was all a lie. When her deceit was uncovered, she and her boyfriend hatched a plot to kill her parents. Pan's story would make a fantastic character study of the downward spiral of the model daughter.
RELATED: The Washington Post followed up on the tragedy with a slightly different take and reactions from some academics and sociologists.
I encourage you to read the story by Karen K. Ho, a schoolmate of the principle characters in this real-life morality play. The story is not your average story of Asian American kids who go against their parents'  wishes to pursue personally gratifying, but financially unstable, careers in the arts. It is an example of what could go drastically wrong and veer into a state of emotional and mental instability for some individuals who couldn't cope with what they perceive as parental pressure. 

I repeat: Don't fall into the trap of making generalizations about Asians and Tiger parenting. Although many of us Asian Americans might find some aspect to relate to in Jennifer's story, the vast majority of us manage to survive our childhoods unscathed and well adjusted.

Jennifer Pan's story is an extreme example of a seemingly perfect family that unraveled while trying to live up to a dream that twisted into a nightmare.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Indictment handed down in case of toddler injured in SWAT team drug raid

Bounkhem "Baby Bou Bou" Phonesavanh is approaching his 3rd birthday.

AN INDICTMENT has been handed down in the much publicized case of Bounkhem "Baby Bou Bou" Phonesavanh when the Habersham County SWAT team raided a house and critically injured the toddler.

Maryland's Habersham County deputy  Nikki Autry, working with the multi-agency Mountain Judicial Circuit Narcotics Criminal and Suppression Team, was indicted on four counts of criminal civil rights violations, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Without her false statements, there was no probable cause to search the premises for drugs or to make the arrest,” acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said July 22. “And in this case, the consequences of the unlawful search were tragic.”
RELATED: Maryland pays $1-million for injuries to child
During the May, 2014 raid, without a warning knock on the door, SWAT team members threw a flash grenade into the house. The grenade landed in the crib of the sleeping Baby Bou Bou, who was 19 months old at the time. The explosion severely injured  the toddler, who was whisked away from his parents and sent to a hospital.
Baby Bou Bou immediately after
the botched raid had to be placed
under an induced coma.

The Justice Department launched its own investigation of the botched raid in October of 2014. They found the deputy had provided false information and used it to obtain a warrant for a "no Knock" search of the house of a drug suspect, Wanis Thonetheva, who was related to the visiting family. The suspect was not in the home at the time of the raid.

According to the indictment, Autry had warned the SWAT team to expect armed guards, a cache of weapons and drugs in the drug suspect's home. Deputies found neither guns, narcotics or the suspect, who was arrested later that day without incident at another site.A settlement of $1 million dollar had been reached between the family and the county in April of this year. One of the terms of the settlement is that the family may not sue individuals involved in maiming their son. Instead of coming from the wallets of the negligent officers, it will come strictly from the taxpayers.

“Over the last few months the Board of County Commissioners has sought a way to bring some measure of closure to this matter while doing what is right, both for the Phonesavanh family and the law enforcement officers involved,” said a statement issued on behalf of the county. “For that reason we have reached a limited settlement with the Phonesavanhs that allows for a payment to them in exchange for protection of the officers and the county.”
Baby Bou Bou had to undergo a dozen surgeries to his face and must continue to have operations to repair the damage done by the burns and explosion.
Autry has since resigned from the Sheriff's Office and the SWAT team disbanded.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

REVIEW: Documentary explores the pros and cons of being white in America

Besides plenty of tears, there were plenty of a-ha moments in MTV's "White People."
WHITE PEOPLE,  the MTV-produced documentary by Jose Antonio Vargas created a bit of stir - for a little while, anyway.

There were those that hated it and those who loved it.

Critics said that the 40-minute documentary that explored what it is like to be a white in America, circa 2015 was simplistic in its approach and didn't go far enough.

Those who loved it, loved that the white subjects found themselves in an uncomfortable situation confronting their biases, expectations and the privilege built into our society.

As expected, the show generated a lot of response on the Internet. (Here is another article.) As one tweeter-of-color wrote: (I'm paraphrasing) "They were uncomfortable for an hour, I'm uncomfortable all my life."

To watch the entire episode of White People, click here.

Many of the issues addressed in the documentary are familiar to people of color. That's because people of color are always talking about race issues and race relations. The issue of race is woven into their everyday lives and impossible for them to ignore.

Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas was the "White People" host.
To many of the young white people in documentary, the concept of race was an unfamiliar  topic - something they just didn't talk about much - and they were clearly uncomfortable when confronted with the advantages and privileges that they had never considered.

The show was at its best when it debunked white beliefs of minority advantages.

Katie, a young woman from Scottsdale, Arizona, complained about minorities winning all the scholarships was chagrined when she learned that whites in fact, win 75% of all merit=based scholarships and have a 40% greater chance of getting a scholarship than students of color. 
UPDATE: Jose Antonio Vargas responds to the critics
In another segment, an Italian American family who believed Asians were "taking over" Bensonhurst, a neighborhood in Brooklyn that was once an exclusively Italian enclave, was made to realize that the new immigrants were doing what all their own immigrant forefathers did  - "transitioning" not only neighborhoods, but themselves as well.

The host, Filipino/American Vargas, to his credit, took great pains to not  attack his subjects but only to tell them the facts. 

White People - the show - shouldn't be viewed as a standalone. MTV has provided a website - -where one can explore the topic further, what they can do, how to counter one's own biases, listen to the celebrities and personalities express their thoughts on the subject.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the key to the future of America's race relations, is not how people of color or immigrants integrate themselves into society, but how white Americans adjust to being another ethnic group among many. Will the latter be willing to share the benefits that our country offers, or will there be more Trumps, Dylann Roofs and O'Reilly's to rile up the white (soon-to-be) minority.

In a way, White People, is asking that question. And to MTV's credit, they know who their audience is - the young people, teenagers and people in their 20s - the so-called Millennial generation. Even the young people interviewed in the documentary, despite their awkwardness talking about race, seemed to realize the inevitability of the demographic changes that is occurring. 
RELATED: America's challenge is learning to live with itself
Numerous studies have concluded that the Millennials are - despite the Roofs of the world - are more tolerant of different lifestyles, different religions and different races.

White People is far from perfect. There was no way 40 minutes, no matter how well crafted, could convincingly address the complex issue of race relations in the United States., especially from the perspective of European Americans.

Yeah, White People didn't get as complex as some may have wanted and there it would have been easy to get bogged down in the historical, psychological and sociological factors that makes race such a difficult subject to tackle for a single television documentary. What MTV and Vargas did succeed in was to make the topic more accessible to its young target demographic. I hope there are follow-ups especially addressing MTV's audience, (cliche' it may be) who will eventually decide which direction the discussion on race will go; and which direction America will go.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

TGIF FEATURE: A film fest for us, about us

IF YOU LOVE movies, here's treat for you if you live in the NYC metropolitan area. The 38th Asian American International Film Festival is offering a week of movies from Asia and the United States. It starts tonight until August 1. Here's a complete schedule.

The organizers have had to downsize their ambitions. Stephen Dypiangco, co-founder of the National Film Society, maintains that festivals like AAIFF are crucial in connecting audiences with filmmakers, and sustaining the artistic stories from within the community.

"They give viewers the rare chance to see stories from our community, which are often ignored in the mainstream, on a big screen" said Dypiangco, who is also behind the new film Awesome Asian Bad Guys now available on iTunes and Amazon. "These communal spaces can lead to beautiful and profound conversations, ideas, and collaborations that can take on a life of their own."

To rebuild and preserve authenticity, the fanfare surrounding the festival has been toned down for 2015. 

 You don't need the glitz and glamor. It's all about the movies and the stories they tell, the lands they take you to and the characters you meet on your journey.

And most of the offerings are free. FREE!

Have a great weekend!

Making its New York debut as AAIFF 2015’s Centerpiece presentation, SEOUL SEARCHING is a fun coming-of-age feature, chronicling the shenanigans and personal journeys of a group of international Korean teens sent to a government-sponsored summer camp for a crash course in Korean culture. Directed by award-winning Korean American filmmaker Benson Lee, and starring Justin Chon  and Jessica Van, this John Hughes-inspired dramedy delivers a pitch-perfect tale of teenage angst, modernized with a stellar Asian and Asian American cast.

Not your father's cha-cha; Asian Americans flash their moves on America's Best Dance Crews

Kinjaz - the unknown factor in this year's America's Best Dance Crew competition.
I'M NOT sure why, but the television show, America's Best Dance Crews, has a high preponderance of Asian/Americans participating compared to their proportion in the general population.

This is one of the few areas of entertainment where Asian/Americans have been able to demonstrate their talent without any hindrance of institutional or personal bias. Perhaps, A/A's have been able to take to dance genre because the door was wide open. It's a brand new art form so there are no legacies, precedents, expectations or barriers to overcome.

I bring this to your attention because this year's installment of the show will be an all-star production featuring the winners of past seasons; a true tournament of champions.

When you see the winners from the previous seven seasons, it becomes evident that Asian Americans have done exceptionally well in this dance competition, which calls for precision, athleticism, brilliant choreography and a healthy dose of showmanship.

The season one winners, Jabberwockeez, is probably the best known of the crews with world tours and Las Vegas gigs among their resume.

Because each dancer wears the group's trademark white mask, their cultural heritage has become a curiosity. “The idea of the mask is to remove all ethnic and social barriers when we perform,” said member Eddie Gutierrez.

Jabberwockeez is currently at Las Vegas' Luxor Hotel & Resort until Aug. 30 and after a brief hiatus,
will return to the MGM Grand in October.
Take off the masks and you can see the crew ethnicities (seven members are Asian/American, including Filipino/American, Korean/American and Vietnamese/American; one is African American and two are Mexican/American).

Chris Gatdula told AsianWeek that growing up Asian American meant their parents expected them to follow the traditional route of higher education and professional careers. “A lot of our parents expected us to get a college degree, make $50K, get a traditional career, like become a doctor, a nurse, an engineer,” he said. “But young Asian Americans like us look at the world differently. Dancing, once viewed as a past-time activity, is actually an artistic form of expression and is a career.”

Unfortunately, because of their busy schedule, Jabberwockeez is not in this year's competition, but their legacy will be present.

Competing this year are: Super Cr3w from season 2, Quest Crew from season 3, the only all-women winners from Season 4, We Are Heroes, I.Am.mE from season 6, season 7's and reigning champs Electrolytes, and the dark horse, Kinjaz, an all-star crew unto itself. Kinjaz, the only team not a season champ, is made up of dancers from former ABDC competitors including season one winner Jabberwockeez.

The show was cancelled last year but this January it was resurrected by MTV with the best-of-the-best twist. Season 8 premieres July 29. Check your local listings. It's going to be a good time!

Quest Crew hails from Los Angeles.

Super Cr3w, right, posed for a picture 
right after they learned that they won the 
season 2 competition of America's Best 
Dance Crew. They were invited to
 perform at the White House 
by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Another egregious case of Hollywood whitewashing a person of color

Scarlett Johansson (right) is signed on to play Motoko Kusanigi (left):
 female, check; action hero, check; looks good in black, check; Japanese ... uh, oh!

Last Spring, director/producer Cameron Crowe got lambasted for yellow-facing by casting Emma Stone as a part-Hawaiian, part-Chinese, part-haole character in his movie Aloha. The blonde, freckled, light-skinned actress couldn't convince the audience of her mixed racial heritage. 

In another case of whitewashing, Scarlett Johnasson is being cast as Motoko Kusanigi in the American remake of Masamuni Shirow's anime classic Ghost in the Shell, due to start filming the first quarter of 2016.

It appears that a petition to replace Johansson is being ignored by Dreamworks. Forbes has recently reported that the studio has already made arrangements with Paramount Pictures to co-finance the American big screen adaptation of the cartoon epic "Ghost in the Shell."

The character, Major Motoko Kusanigi, is a cyborg detective who works cybercrime cases. The production company still has the film set in dystopian Japan and cast the rest of the characters as Japanese. The biggest change is the ethnicity of the lead character.

Aren't there enough roles asking for white actresses that Asian actresses cannot auction for? When one of the few roles written for an Asian actress comes around, Hollywood finds it easy to change it by yellow-face casting. Are they going to tape her eyes back and make her wear buck teeth too ala Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's?

Johansson must have impressed Dreamworks honcho Steven Spielberg with her work in Lucy, in which she plays a robot, or her voice in Her, in which she is the disembodied voice for a computer.  

The cartoon character to be
played by Scarlett Johansson
is Japanese.
I get it. Any movie with Johansson is probably going to have big box office appeal. I probably would have less objection to the project if they just took the storyline and set it in an American setting, much like what was done with Magnificent Seven, a takeoff on the Kurosawa classic Seven Samurai.

But to stay true to the original setting and characters in Japan then throw out all pretense by casting Johansson - well, its just so jarring ... and wrong on a number of fronts.

Ghost in the Shell was originally a Japanese manga, a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels aimed at adults as well as children.

The storyline focuses on Section 9, a branch of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission which combats cybercrime and cyberterrorism under the command of purple-haired, bi-sexual cyborg Commander Motoko Kusanagi.

Section 9 is populated by crime fighters with cybernetic implants while Kusanagi has entirely replaced her human body with one that is fully artificial.

The petition reads:
"Fans of the iconic 1995 animated Japanese sci-fi film Ghost in the Shell have been anticipating a live-action remake for years -- but now, instead of casting an Asian actress, Dreamworks has selected Scarlett Johansson for the lead role! The film revolves around Major Motoko Kusanagi, a member of a futuristic security force tasked with tracking a mysterious hacker.
"The original film is set in Japan, and the major cast members are Japanese. So why would the American remake star a white actress? The industry is already unfriendly to Asian actors without roles in major films being changed to exclude them. One recent survey found that in 2013, Asian characters made up only 4.4% of speaking roles in top-grossing Hollywood films.
"Dreamworks could be using this film to help provide opportunities for Asian-American actors in a market with few opportunities for them to shine -- please sign the petition asking them to reconsider casting Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell and select actors who are truer to the cast of the original film!"
If you would like to add your name to the petition, go to care2 petitions.  

At least Crowe saw the error of his casting for Aloha and he issued an apology to his critics. Even Emma Stone is a bit embarrassed for her role in the miscasting. 
RELATED: Why 'Aloha' means 'forget it!"
“I’ve become the butt of many jokes,” says 27-year-old Stone. 

“I’ve learned on a macro level about the insane history of whitewashing in Hollywood and how prevalent the problem truly is. It’s ignited a conversation that’s very important,” she acknowledges.

If only Johansson and Dreamworks head Spielberg, both purportedly part of Hollywood's liberal community and whom you would expect would be sensitive to the complaint of whitewashing, can understand the conversation referred to by Stone, and learn from that message.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Ellen Pao steps down from Reddit, are the trolls winning?

Ellen Pao leaves Reddit
REDDIT calls itself, "the front page of the Internet." For Ellen Pao, it was a rabbit hole into a world that got curiouser and curiouser. 

"The Internet started as a bastion for free expression. It encouraged broad engagement and a diversity of ideas," Pao wrote in the Washington Post. "Over time, however, that openness has enabled the harassment of people for their views, experiences, appearances or demographic backgrounds. Balancing free expression with privacy and the protection of participants has always been a challenge for open-content platforms on the Internet. But that balancing act is getting harder. The trolls are winning."

It has not been a good year for Pao, who earlier lost a sexism lawsuit vs. a former employer, venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; and then, three weeks ago, she lost her job as Interim CEO of Reddit.

Since her departure - she resigned, not fired - the Reddit universe has been in turmoil. Some say she was set up to fail.

The freedom given to Reddit's unpaid moderators to monitor the communities, or "subreddits," also gave rise to racist and sexist sites under the guise of freedom of speech. The hate and venom on these sites are the main reason Reddit has had difficulty win advertisers, an Internet platform's lifeblood.

Pao was tasked to rid the platform of those subreddits. Along the way, she released a popular employee, Victoria Taylor. Even though one other bosses asked to her fire Taylor, the redditors blamed her. The backlash came back a hundred fold.

Pam's critics claimed censorship. In protest, some of the moderators shut down their sites. An online petition circulated and reportedly collected 200,000 signatures calling for Pao's firing.

However, there may be something more behind all that hate and venom hurled at Pao that shows the dark side of the Internet.

Pao, a lawyer and businesswoman who has a resume centered in Silicon Valley, inspired much controversy and vitriol from numerous Reddit users when she decided first to ban several popular subreddits dedicated to racist, sexist, and fat-shaming posts; and then to fire popular employee Victoria Taylor, administrator for the site's popular "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) subreddit where celebrities and other notable personalities field questions from users.

Pao was hired eight months ago to replace previous CEO Yishan Wong, who stepped down amidst another bout of controversy surrounding, among other things, his public conflict with a former employee. 

In her own post on Reddit, Pao reaffirmed the sentiment behind both her closing of the aforementioned subreddits and her reaction to vitriol on the site following both unpopular decisions:

"I just want to remind everyone that I am just another human; I have a family, and I have feelings. Everyone attacked on reddit is just another person like you and me. When people make something up to attack me or someone else, it spreads, and we eventually will see it. And we will feel bad, not just about what was said. Also because it undercuts the authenticity of reddit and shakes our faith in humanity."
Pao will be replaced by site co-founder Steve Huffman.

Last week, Reddit's chief engineer, Bethane Blount, announced her resignation after just two months on the job.

Although she claims her departure is not related to Pao's resignation, Blount also said she believed Pao’s exit was an indirect consequence of gender discrimination, and that Pao had been placed on a “glass cliff.” It is a term used to describe women being set up for failure by being put in leadership roles during crises. According to Re/code

“Victoria wasn’t on a glass cliff. But it’s hard for me to see it any other way than Ellen was,” Blount said. However, she added that “I wouldn’t say my decision to leave was directly related to my gender.”

Being named "Interim" CEO weakened her authority and made her an easy target for long-time Reddit regulars.

Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman, who is replacing Pao, added that he thought some of the messaging around Pao had gotten extremely ugly. “I don’t think Ellen has been in a position to defend herself,” he said. “It’s okay for redditors to be angry, but I thought some users crossed the line when it became personal.”

Board head Sam Altman described the vile — and some have described as misogynistic — criticisms of Pao in his memo to the site.
“It was sickening to see some of the things redditors wrote about Ellen. The reduction in compassion that happens when we’re all behind computer screens is not good for the world. People are still people even if there is Internet between you,” he wrote. 

We can't ignore that 75 percent of Reddit users are males who have claimed the Internet as their playground and they don't want some outsider - especially a woman - interjecting herself in their exclusive game.

Seen from afar, Reddit is not about creating a virtual community, its about the giving an individual a sense of power, whether they deserve it or not, and whether the redditor uses it for good or evil is not considered. That internal struggle to define Reddit is what claimed Pao as collateral damage.

Pao isn't the first woman to be bullied by the Internet. Writer Jessica Valenti of the Guardian writes if she could start over, she might prefer to be completely anonymous on the Internet. “I don’t know that I would do it under my real name,” she tells young women who are interested in writing about feminism. It’s “not just the physical safety concerns but the emotional ramifications” of constant, round-the-clock abuse.

“If the Reddit community cannot learn to balance authenticity and compassion, it may be a great website but it will never be a truly great community,” wrote Altman.

But, there's a silver lining in this dark story. As the Reddit story played out into its third week, the tide began to turn. Huffman swore that he would continue to purge Reddit of its hate-filled content.

So let's let Ellen Pao have the last word:

"So it’s left to all of us to figure it out, to call out abuse when we see it. As the trolls on Reddit grew louder and more harassing in recent weeks, another group of users became more vocal. First a few sent positive messages," said Pao in an oped in the Washington Post published over the weekend. "Then a few more. Soon, I was receiving hundreds of messages a day, and at one point thousands. These messages were thoughtful, well-written and heartfelt, in stark contrast to the trolling messages, which were usually made up of little more than four-letter words."

The battle continues. And ... the body count keeps rising.