Mozilla’s Anti-Gay CEO Steps Down After Boycotts And Protests

CREDIT: AP Photo - Paul Sakuma

A sign celebrating 1 billion downloads posted at Mozilla's Mountain View, Calif. headquarters in 2009.

Mozilla’s Chief Executive Officer Brendan Eich resigned from his post Thursday after an almost two weeks-long public backlash against his controversial appointment.

Mozilla, which owns the popular Web browser Firefox, immediately came under fire for promoting Eich, who donated $1,000 to support California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage in 2008.

In a blog post announcing the decision, Mozilla wrote:

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,”

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.

Since his March 25 appointment, the Internet company has faced a number of boycotts and protests. Earlier this week, OKCupid hurdled access to its site in the Firefox browser, urging users to choose another browser and not support Mozilla products. Rarebit app developer, Hampton Catlin pulled his projects from Mozilla sparking a public outcry for Eich’s resignation. Three of Mozilla’s board executives have also stepped down in the two weeks Eich has been CEO.

In response to criticism, Eich held interviews and released statements asserting that, as CEO, he was committed to making Mozilla welcoming to the LGBT community and that his personal beliefs were divorced from his professional duties. Eich also refused to say whether he would donate to similar campaigns in the future. None of his public statements touched on marriage equality or delved into his specific views.