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Firefox And New CEO Respond To Anti-Gay Charges By Totally Not Addressing Them

by David Badash on March 26, 2014

in Discrimination,News

Post image for Firefox And New CEO Respond To Anti-Gay Charges By Totally Not Addressing Them

Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, are ignoring the elephant in the room: their new CEO is still anti-gay. He may decided to treat everyone equally, but he doesn’t believe gay people are equal.

Remember Tylenol? It’s a pain reliever, it does basically what Advil, Aleve, and aspirin do: gets rid of headaches. In 1982, Tylenol had a big headache: seven people died after buying bottles of Tylenol laced with cyanide that someone had tampered with. It was tragic — and terrifying. The murderer was never found, but Tylenol’s immediate acknowledgment of the problem and response to the problem was heralded as the reason its brand survived.

The Mozilla/Firefox controversy this week is no where near the size of the Tylenol murders. Let’s make that really clear. People died in the Tylenol murders. No one’s dying because of Firefox. It’s a brand story that teaches an important lesson and has been used as such for decades.

What’s the lesson?

Respond.

Immediately.

When you or your brand are attacked and in trouble, acknowledge the problem, respond, and fix it. Head on.

On Monday, The New Civil Rights Movement was one of the first to report that the people who make the popular Firefox internet browser, Mozilla, promoted Brendan Eich to become their new CEO. Eich is actually a co-founder of Mozilla and also the guy who created/wrote Javascript.

Eich, unfortunately, is also a guy who donated $1000 to support California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Prop 8.

He has never denied the donation, nor has he ever apologized for it.

This week, Firefox/Mozilla have lost some good will and their reputation and brand have been hurt — I think it’s safe to say — because Mozilla’s Board of Directors chose as the face of their company a man who supports discrimination.

This all exploded when Hampton and Michael Catlin, a married same-sex couple who founded Rarebit — a software company that makes smart phone apps like Dictonary! — wrote on their website they were boycotting Mozilla because of Eich’s support of Prop 8.

Finally, late today, Mozilla and Eich responded — only not really.

Eich pulled a fast one. He did not address his support of Prop 8 or his apparent opposition to same-sex marriage equality. He wrongly framed the issue by writing, “I know there are concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla” in a a statement on his blog. He promised an “[a]ctive commitment to equality” in the workplace, promised to not discriminate, etc.

Mozilla released a statement that touted its employee benefits that include domestic partnership benefits (oh my — legally required in some states, highly expected in the tech industry), etc. Mitchell Baker, Mozilla’s Executive Chairwoman, also released a statement, one far better, but that’s because she writes:

I am an avid supporter of equal rights for all. I support equal rights for the LGBT community, I support equal rights for underrepresented groups, and I have some pretty radical views about the role of underrepresented groups in social institutions.

But what Eich and Mozilla have not done is apologize for Eich’s donation, or for promoting him, or made any suggestion that Eich has “evolved” on the issue of same-sex marriage or equality.

Which means he hasn’t.

In fact, there was zero mention of same-sex marriage in any of Eich’s or Mozilla’s statements about the outrage being expressed by Eich’s promotion.

The software developers who are boycotting Mozilla wrote a very personal statement on their website, detailing how Prop 8 personally harmed them. They are a same-sex bi-national couple who were prohibited from marrying and from jointly starting a business because of Prop 8.

That’s a big deal.

Here’s what one of them wrote via Twitter yesterday:

It’s unfortunate that Brendan Eich not only doesn’t support marriage equality, but actually donated money to ban it. That’s a huge statement in and of itself.

Brendan Eich may treat everyone equally, but he doesn’t believe gay people are equal.

And if Mozilla’s employees know that, what does that do to them?

Previously:

Firefox Users Boycott Browser Over New Anti-Gay CEO

Firefox, The Anti-Gay Browser?

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{ 1 comment }

Str8Grandmother March 26, 2014 at 9:25 pm

He looks kind of Mormon, his picture I mean.
I wonder if he is Mormon?
The Mormons carried the $$$ to defeat prop 8.

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