The board of directors of Mozilla, the company that makes the highly-popular web browser Firefox, may not have cared much that Brendan Eich, their co-founder is anti-gay and was happy in 2008 to put invest his money in anti-gay candidates and the Prop 8 campaign. Until now.
Some high-profile Mozilla employees are protesting the promotion of Brendan Eich to CEO because of his anti-gay position. At least half a dozen Mozilla employees took to Twitter today to ask Eich to “step down” as CEO. Several others expressed said they were “disturbed” and expressed that they are “disappointed” with Eich’s promotion.
The founders of one software startup announced a boycott of Mozilla and Firefox, explaining how Prop 8 had personally harmed them. The same-sex bi-national couple, who created Rarebit and the popular smart phone app Dictionary!, say Prop 8 prevented them from being able to marry, and from jointly-creating a software company in 2008.
Eich, in a lengthy post on his personal blog, attempted to address concerns he had met internally upon his promotion, and promised to treat everyone equally. He did not address his anti-gay positions, except to state in an almost hidden portion of his statement that he wished to express his “sorrow at having caused pain.”
Mozilla also handled the public and internal outrage poorly, merely pointing to their domestic partner insurance benefits — and industry standard.
Ars Technica, a tech industry news site, reported on the story and placed the players in context:
The internal response began this morning with two tweets from Mozilla Open Badges project lead Chris McAvoy. “I love @mozilla but I’m disappointed this week,” McAvoy said, referring to the controversial decision to appoint Eich as CEO after he had donated thousands to both California’s Proposition 8 and political candidates who supported it. “@mozilla stands for openness and empowerment, but is acting in the opposite way.” He then made a more pronounced declaration: “I’m an employee of @mozilla and I’m asking @brendaneich to step down as CEO.”
Within minutes, many other Mozilla employees followed suit, using similar language or copying each other’s statements outright. Those included Mozilla Festival curator Chloe Vareldi, partnerships lead John Bevan, designer Jessica Klein, and engagement team member Sydney Moyer.
Firefox is the world’s second-most popular desktop browser.
Hat tip: Joe Jervis
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