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Firefox Users Boycott Browser Over New Anti-Gay CEO

by David Badash on March 25, 2014

in News

Post image for Firefox Users Boycott Browser Over New Anti-Gay CEO

Some Firefox users are furious over yesterday’s promotion to CEO of Brendan Eich to lead Mozilla, the company that makes the world’s second-most popular internet desktop browser, Firefox. Eich actually co-founded Mozilla, but made headlines when it was reported he had donated $1000 to support California’s anti-gay Prop 8 in 2008.

Hampton and Michael Catlin are the married co-founders of the software manufacturer Rarebit. They immediately published a notice on their company’s website announcing a boycott of Firefox, including removing their apps from Firefox’s marketplace.

Dear Mozilla,

As a married gay couple who are co-founders of this venture, we have chosen to boycott all Mozilla projects. We will not develop apps or test styles on Firefox anymore.

Effective today, we’re removing Color Puzzle from the Firefox Marketplace and stopping work on all of our Firefox-related applications, notably the about-to-launch Firefox version of the popular Dictionary! app for iPhone and Android.

This is in protest of the appointment of Brendan Eich to the position of CEO of the Mozilla Foundation, where he had previously served as CTO.

We will continue our boycott until Brendan Eich is completely removed from any day to day activities at Mozilla, which we believe is extremely unlikely after all he’s survived and the continued support he has received from Mozilla.

This makes us very sad, as we love the little guy fighting to make things better. But it’s because of our status as a minority that we simply can’t ignore this slap in the face of giving him a promotion to lead your organization.

The couple adds that “for us, this is very, very personal. Michael is a British citizen and so immigration is a big issue for us. Being a binational gay couple, up until this summer when the Supreme Court overturned Proposition 8, Michael was here on a temporary visa, tied to his job. Luckily, he loved working there, but we were not able to do anything on our own. If you leave your job, you lose your visa. So, due to Prop 8, Michael was unable to co-found a business with me.”

Fortunately, they note, Prop 8 was overturned, and with it, Hampton and Michael were able to marry, Michael was able to stay in the country, and they were able to start a successful company together.

But until Mozilla’s new CEO denounces his donation in support of the anti-gay law, or he leaves the company, Hampton and Michael Catlin say they’ll continue their boycott.

UPDATE: Firefox, The Anti-Gay Browser?
Tell Mozilla that Brendan Eich’s support of Prop 8 troubles you, and you believe its users deserve an apology — or a different browser.

Hat tip: CloudTweaks

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JayJonson March 25, 2014 at 10:07 am

The Catlins and David Badash should know that the Supreme Court did not overturn Proposition 8. They dismissed the suit against Prop 8 because the proponents lacked standing to appeal. That had the effect of allowing Judge Walker's ruling that Prop 8 was unconstitutional to stand. But in any case it was the overturning of DOMA that affected immigration policy.

I am happy to join the boycott of Firefox.

Tilghman Lesher March 25, 2014 at 10:50 am

This is ultimately a futile boycott, in that avoiding using Firefox doesn't in any way affect the finances of the Mozilla Foundation. Now, if you put pressure on one or more of the sponsors of the Mozilla Foundation to withhold a grant until the CEO is replaced, that might actually have the desired effect. But all they're doing in this boycott is removing themselves from the marketplace of ideas, preventing them from having a positive effect on others who otherwise might be positively influenced by their good work.

xenubarb March 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm

The "marketplace of ideas" doesn't begin and end with Mozilla, you know.

WillCofKC March 25, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Remember: there is more to Mozilla than Firefox. Personally, the only Mozilla product I had on my computer was Thunderbird. I woke up to this story this morning and as of 5am, I have replaced it with Evolution (Linux user). So I have joined the boycott. It has been mentioned that the boycott is futile. Even if that is true, it's not stopping me from taking the moral high ground. Don't boycott Firefox, boycott Mozilla.

BJLincoln March 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm

As far as I know I am not using any Mozilla products. Never have.
I may catch hell for this but……
This man gave 1,000 dollars to a cause we were targets of 6 years ago and was found unconstitutional.
How far back do we go and how much money is too much?
We have forgiven some for screwing us for far more money AND discriminating laws in less time.

I understand the need to press for our rights being an out and married lesbian of 55. But are we approaching the point when stop going after every single thing or is it still necessary to make something out of next to nothing? How long and/or how hard should we hang on to the our pain that we target schmucks like this guy. We have bigger fish to go after and our fight is not nearly over but there does seem to be a need to draw a line as we move forward in time. Could this be a glimpse of that need now?

grahamfreeman March 25, 2014 at 8:55 pm

" How long and/or how hard should we hang on to the our pain that we target schmucks like this guy."

Until everyone has equal rights under the law. It sounds like now that you have YOUR rights you're willing to stop fighting for other's. I'm straight – I am not a second class citizen under the law because of my sex, gender, or sexual preferences, but I still stand up for other people's rights where I can.

ascii3 March 26, 2014 at 1:08 am

So they're boycotting their jobs until the CEO gets fired? I hope Firefox hires ALL employees on the merit of their experience, connections, and abilities. And I hope Firefox continues to do so. No one cares what the CEO does with his personal income. Why should someone let this man's opinion on one issue dictate their career path? Why should anyone? Most people, don't and won't. Getting someone fired because you don't like him is not courageous. It's passive-aggressive and whiny. If you don't want to work somewhere, don't, and don't attempt to draw the public into your insanity. Please stop.

Merv9999 March 26, 2014 at 2:38 pm

CEO isn't just another job. It's the leader of the corporation. Would you be as forgiving if the man were a KKK grand wizard in his spare time, or a holocaust denier?

ascii3 March 29, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Stop. Using. Racial. Inferences.

I am so tired of people equating "not agreeing with gays and pandering to their view of reality" to Jim Crow's institutional racism. There is no comparison. People who think that it does are speaking from a position of privilege and a certain measure of self-delusion. If you were a true skeptic, you would be willing to admit that you might be wrong and be willing to step outside your personal beliefs and be willing to consider that not only another point of view might exist, but might actually be more valid and concise than your own.

I once read a quote: "There's a difference between believing something isn't right and doing your best to enforce that belief on others, and" is a very insightful and astute observation. I useit because it 's a good point. I've thought about this and I've come to the conclusion that the sentiment expressed (Give in to our demands or we'll get you fired) is no different than a fifth-grader saying, "Give me your lunch money or I'll punch you out." Do we need to go back to kindergarten to lean how to play nicely with others?

The appropriate action would be to approach the CEO discreetly and tell him that your OPINION is that he made a philosophical statement by which you felt hurt, personally. Listen to his point of view; he might have had an experience which has influenced his belief, and it's worth hearing out.

This is a personal matter, not a public statement. We no longer have stars, we have idols. Projecting your beliefs onto the anyone (including CEOs) and citing them as facts about CEOs in general is naive and counterproductive.

Merv9999 March 30, 2014 at 1:52 am

First of all, I'll use any references I want. For your information, the KKK didn't target only black people, but also immigrants, Catholics, and, yes, gay people. Also, gay people did and do experience institutional discrimination.

As much as some may want to deny it, the CEO job really is different. One of the duties of a CEO is as company spokesman and public face of the company. Companies may also hire celebrity spokesman. Suppose a company hired Mel Gibson as a celebrity spokesman a few years ago, and then it was revealed that Gibson made anti-semitic statements as a private citizen that became widely known to the public. Would the company consider those statements when deciding to continue their relationship? Of course they would, because it could reflect badly on the company. In the same way, statements and other actions by the CEO in his private life can affect the image of the country. The same is not true if a no-name middle-level employee did the same thing.

As for me, I don't really care what FireFox does at this point. Their actions speak for themselves. I didn't use their products before, and don't plan on using them now.

AhContraire March 28, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Before boycotting, resigning, why not have a public dialog on the medical safety of Sodomy, gay and straight, and ask these two simple medical questions?

That is, Doesn't the medical community recommend that you, "Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom."?

Yet, now there are some in the medical community that now say it's OK to "Sleep with the waste that gets flushed down in the toilet?" and that it's possible to live a perfectly normal life.

Twitter Handle: AhContraire

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