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Meghan Markle and Alexis Ohanian Bond Over “Shared Experiences”

Meghan seen hugging Serena’s husband Alexis Ohanian (Image: GETTY)


Meghan Markle and Alexis Ohanian Bond Over “Shared Experiences”


The world owes Archie Harrison and Alexis Olympia Ohanian thanks for the job Meghan Markle and Alexis Ohanian are doing.

Markle and Prince Harry held a live Time100 Talks event on YouTube, where they addressed several digital professionals on ways to make the digital realm more compassionate, safe, and trustworthy. The first guest was Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who, as the duchess pointed out, has a special connection to Meghan and Harry.


“I know we have shared experiences of being in interracial marriages and raising small children of mixed race, and how that plays into [our mission],” Markle explained.


The virtual Q&A is part of a live event series that brings together diverse leaders to highlight solutions to global issues. Given how much of our lives we live online, Markle and Ohanian’s talk focused on creating a better digital business.



Alexis has a 2-year-old daughter with Serena Williams, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, while Meghan and Prince Harry had baby Archie in May 2019.


Alexis’ ambition to diversify the IT business began while he was at Reddit. He stated that he experienced directly the influence that these platforms had on propagating racial injustices, which prompted him to leave earlier this year, during the protests over George Floyd’s death.


However, he stated that his good action was not unpunished, stating, “Well, you know, I just remarked recently on Twitter that given that I am still getting hate mail about it, I knew I made the right choice. Because sadly, you know we’re at a place in this country where there is still a lot of work to be done, a lot of work to be done.”



Ohanian was open about how much he owed Williams and his daughter for his quest to better the world, particularly in terms of expanding racial diversity in Silicon Valley and addressing disparities worldwide.


“It is disappointing to know that so much of this perspective [on race] I really only got after I started dating, but certainly once I married my wife, and once we had our daughter, it really leveled it up to another place,” Ohanian said. “I’ve had so many moments in my life where I was given the benefit of the doubt, where I never felt unsafe, where I always felt heard, where I did not realize until I was in a relationship with someone who achieved as much as she has and still regularly deals with this in painful, frustrating ways. As a husband, you just get outraged, and then especially now in the role as a father, I just can’t help but want to create a world that is fair to my daughter. And I know that that’s lofty, but it’s a thing worth striving toward, and I’m going to work every day to get a little better.”


Ohanian took one step toward that goal earlier this year when he stepped down from Reddit’s board of directors to create way for a Black person to take his position. It may seems weird to make such a move for a 2-year-old daughter, but his reason is perfect: “I knew that I had a responsibility to be able to answer her when she asked me in 10 years, when she’s a snarky teenager, what I did to be a part of making things better for her?”


As co-founder of Reddit, Ohanian is no stranger to the poisonous debates that take place online (even the site’s notoriously misogynistic “Am I the Asshole” thread pales in comparison to the depravity that can be found on the internet). Neither is Markle, who has been vilified by tabloids for her status as a member of the British royal family. She also cited a Wall Street Journal article, stating that “64% of people who are joining extremist groups are joining it because it’s recommended to them [online].” Explicit online racism, xenophobia, transphobia, homophobia and more is rampant. But is all of mankind really that terrible?




“Part of this is about building the technology and building the tools to make sure that that small vitriolic, awful group… does not have a platform to spread their beliefs and spread that kind of hate,” Ohanian explained.


Alexis went on to say that he is prepared to accept the repercussions if it meant bettering the lives of his wife, Serena, and their daughter, Olympia. “And I thought about the role that it plays and the role that all social media companies play in our society and the world that it’s shaping for everyone including people like my daughter, like my wife,” he reflected. “I knew that I had a responsibility to be able to answer her when she asked me in 10 years—when she’s a snarky teenager—you know, what I did to help be a part of making things better for her.”


Meghan, who has faced discrimination since joining the royal family, responded, in part, “I know we have shared experiences in being in interracial marriages and you know raising small children who are of mixed race and how that plays into that.”


Markle also spoke to Ohanian about another firm he’s invested in, Sentropy, which has created artificial intelligence technology to detect and remove hate speech, abuse, and threats on social media. This not only protects the targets of such speech, but it also makes financial sense, he argues, because it prevents other users from quitting sites they see as hostile.


We can picture Markle wishing to employ some of that AI against the tabloids that have tormented her for years.

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