Ellen Pao
A Change.org petition has reached nearly 200,000 supporters calling for Reddit CEO Ellen Pao's resignation.REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

A petition calling for Reddit CEO Ellen Pao's resignation has surpassed 190,000 supporters after the online community suffered a temporary shutdown during the Fourth of July weekend. Pao has been the subject of severe backlash after Reddit dismissed its talent director Victoria Taylor on 2 July.

The Change.org petition, which has reached more than 191,000 supporters, claims Reddit has "entered into a new age of censorship" since Pao was appointed interim CEO in November 2014.

"A vast majority of the Reddit community believes that Pao, 'a manipulative individual who will sue her way to the top', has overstepped her boundaries and fears that she will run Reddit into the ground," the petition reads.

According to Fast Company, Taylor's dismissal led to the temporary shutdown of nearly 300 subreddits, including the popular "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) subreddit. In a statement issued on 3 Friday, Pao apologised for the lack of communications and the company's handling of Taylor's dismissal.

"We screwed up. Not just on July 2, but also over the past several years. We haven't communicated well, and we have surprised moderators and the community with big changes. We have apologized and made promises to you, the moderators and the community, over many years, but time and again, we haven't delivered on them," the statement read.

It continued, "When you've had feedback or requests, we haven't always been responsive. The mods and the community have lost trust in me and in us, the administrators of reddit. Today, we acknowledge this long history of mistakes. We are grateful for all you do for reddit, and the buck stops with me."

Fast Company reported that the petition calling for Pao's resignation had more than 10,000 supporters prior to Taylor's firing, but took off after 2 July. Supporters have cited concerns of censorship after Pao introduced strict anti-harassment policies and eliminated five subreddits that violated those policies.

The New York Times also reported that Pao has pledged a Reddit team will work exclusively with the AMA group, which Taylor is credited with expanding.