Amidst a loud and swift protest over his donation to a campaign to ban gay marriage in California, Mozilla co-founder CEO Brendan Eich has resigned.
Earlier this week, a message on okcupid.com went viral. When people attempted to access OkCupid through Firefox, Mozilla’s internet browser, they were met with a statement of OkCupid’s lack of support for Mozilla and Eich, who became CEO on March 24th. It was revealed that he had previously donated to support Prop 8, which sought to ban gay marriage in California.
The immediate public outcry joined the outcry from Mozilla employees, including the resignation of three directors. Support also came from OkCupid users, gay and straight, as well as the the community beyond. Protests had started on Twitter before the OkCupid announcement, and it all boiled down to a total lack of support for a CEO who contributed to a cause that was widely seen as against his company’s culture of openness and acceptance. Subsequent blog posts from Eich did not cool the furor, and he resigned. In a blog post on April 3rd, Mozilla restated its commitment of support for equality for all.
In a post on his Facebook, George Takei made this point:
Well, that was fast. OkCupid‘s strong stance surely helped. And staffers at Mozilla who’d protested, and company directors who’d resigned as a result of his appointment, can now work in a hate-free zone.
And a quick civics primer: Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. This man donated money to a campaign designed to keep LGBT people from full equality and to deny our families equal rights under the law. He was free to make that choice, but we are free to hold him accountable. If he’d donated money to White Supremacists to help outlaw interracial marriage, there’d be little outcry over his ouster.
This will no doubt continue to be controversial, but people spoke clearly for what they wanted. The results are that Brendan Eich is no longer the CEO of Mozilla, and a company was forced to take a good hard look at its values and what it really stands for.
Photo: wikimedia commons