Mozilla CEO and co-founder resigns amid gay rights controversy

“We’re sorry. We must do better.”

With those words from Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, Mozilla announced the departure of its newly-appointed CEO, Brendan Eich, who co-founded the company. Eich, who created JavaScript, is also stepping down Mozilla’s nonprofit foundation board.

Eich’s fall from grace stems from his decision to donate $1,000 in 2008 to the campaign in support of California’s Proposition 8, a voter-backed initiative to ban same-sex marriage across the state.

While Eich’s choice to support the anti-gay marriage campaign came to light in 2012, when the LA Times uncovered the donor list. This didn’t stop Mozilla from appointing Eich CEO, but it also incited protests from companies and organizations who found Eich’s stance intolerant and fundamentally incompatible with Mozilla’s idealistic mission. People were reminded of his political stance on March 31, when dating site OKCupid turned its Mozilla browser homepage into a full-page plea to boycott the company due to Eich’s history of anti-gay rights support.

In interviews this week, Eich indicated that he would not resign over the issue. “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,” he told The Guardian yesterday, characterizing OKCupid’s campaign as “rash.”

Maybe he should’ve characterized as “effective”— with this announcement, it’s clear that his political stance is too damaging to the company’s reputation to move past. It appears the tech world’s ability to stomach intolerance for LGBT rights issues is at an all-time low.

A Mozilla spokesperson told the Daily Dot that everything the company has to say about the situation can be found in its blog post. “Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it,” the post reads. “We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: It’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.”

H/T Recode | Illustration via Jason Reed

 

Kate Knibbs

Kate Knibbs

Kate Knibbs is a notable tech reporter and pop culture essayist. A former staff writer for the Daily Dot, her work has appeared in Gizmodo, the Ringer, AV Club, Digital Trends, Popular Mechanics, and Time.