Jonathan Higbee's picture

BREAKING: Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Steps Down Amid Anti-Gay Scandal

It looks like Brendan Eich's anti-gay past brought too much negativity to his newly-minted high profile gig at Mozilla, maker of the popular Firefox browser. After a week spent defending himself against his contributions to keep marriage away from same-sex couples in California, a week marred by outrage from developers and even websites, Eich has stepped down as CEO of the tech company. 

The news was shared moments ago on Mozilla's blog in this post:

Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.

We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.

Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.

Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.

Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.

We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community.

While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.

We need to put our focus back on protecting that Web. And doing so in a way that will make you proud to support Mozilla.

On Wednesday, Eich indicated he would stay on as CEO despite the headlines, further making Mozilla's announcement a surprise. 

“I agree with people who say it wasn't private, but it was personal,” Eich said of his $1,000 donation to California's Proposition 8 campaign. “But the principle that I have operated by, that is formalized in our code of conduct at Mozilla, is it's really about keeping anything that's not central to our mission out of our office.

“If I stop doing that now I think I would be doing wrong that code of conduct and doing a disservice to Mozilla. And I really do think it's an important principle of inclusiveness for Mozilla to succeed.”

Even in the face of international criticism and outrage, Eich refused to say he would never donate to anti-gay groups again. 

“I don't want to do hypotheticals,” he also said Wednesday. “I haven't thought about that issue and I really don't want to speculate because it's not relevant.”

And cue the outrage from the homophobic lobby...

What do you think about Eich's decision to step down?



As a gay man, I have grown to respect views from others that differ from mine. Where I draw the line, though is when one acts upon with such views in an attempt to take away fellow citizen's rights, as in the Prop 8 contribution. I do admire Mr. Eich's reception from the LGBT community to guide and help in an inclusive environment. Contributions should be for supporting that very cause, inclusiveness, instead of taking it away.

nick91604's picture

I'd agree. It's one thing when someone opposes equal marriage in the general sense of not being in support of it, but when they go to the extreme of fiscally contributing to vehemently anti-gay organizations such as NOM, Family Research Council etc -- that's where I really draw the line.

^ this. Also I could have stood his working there bif i had to- after all, we need to respect his views as well. However, I think he made the right decision to step down  and spare the company any further condemnation.

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