Feeds

I QUIT: Mozilla's anti-gay-marriage Brendan Eich leaps out of door

Firefox maker says sorry

Boost IT visibility and business value

Updated Brendan Eich has stepped down as CEO of Firefox-maker Mozilla Corporation – after it emerged he controversially backed a ballot measure that outlawed same-sex marriage in California.

In a blog post on Thursday, Mozilla cofounder and executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker wrote that Eich's decision was voluntary and that he made it "for Mozilla and our community."

"Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn't live up to it," Baker wrote. "We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it's because we haven't stayed true to ourselves.

"We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better."

Eich's appointment as Mozilla's chief exec spurred outrage among gay rights supporters after public records revealed that he contributed $1,000 to the campaign in support of Proposition 8, a divisive 2008 California ballot initiative that enshrined "one man, one woman" as the standard for marriage in the state's constitution.

Although the bill was eventually struck down as unconstitutional under federal law, Eich's support for it was seen as antithetical to Mozilla's progressive public ethos, leading to calls for a boycott of the group's Firefox web browser.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday, Eich, a Mozilla cofounder, said his political beliefs were "personal" and that he had "kept them out of Mozilla all these 15 years we've been going."

"There's a difference here between the company, the foundation, as an employer and an entity, versus the project and community at large, which is not under any constraints to agree on LGBT equality or any other thing that is not central to the mission or the Mozilla manifesto," Eich said.

But Eich's comments appeared to clash with the views of Baker, who blogged on March 29 that "Mozilla supports equality for all, explicitly including LGBT equality and marriage equality."

In her Thursday blog post, Baker wrote, "We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community."

Eich's decision to abdicate the CEO chair leaves a leadership vacuum at Mozilla, which has been without a chief executive since Gary Kovacs announced his resignation a year ago. JavaScript inventor, and Mozilla.org cofounder, Eich's future at Mozilla Corporation is not clear at this stage.

"What's next for Mozilla's leadership is still being discussed," Baker wrote. "We want to be open about where we are in deciding the future of the organization and will have more information next week." ®

Updated to add at 1814 PDT, 0214 BST

Eich has personally confirmed he has not only stepped down as CEO, he has quit Mozilla outright.

"I’m leaving Mozilla to take a rest, take some trips with my family, look at problems from other angles," he said. "I encourage all Mozillians to keep going."

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.