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Mozilla Businesses Politics

Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO 1746

Posted by timothy
from the but-a-decade-as-cto-is-fine dept.
New submitter matafagafo (1343219) writes with this news, straight from the Mozilla blog, which comes in the wake of controversy over Brendan Eich's polticial views (in particular, his support for California's Proposition 8, which would have reversed a decision legalizing same-sex marriage within the state). and how they would reflect on the organization : "Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He's made this decision for Mozilla and our community. 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 ..."
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Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO

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  • by samantha (68231) * on Thursday April 03, 2014 @03:50PM (#46652373) Homepage

    I am a lesbian and I still think hounding Eich for standing for Prop. 8 and threatening to boycott a cornerstone of the internet and internet development if he was CEO of the Mozilla foundation is complete and utter intolerant bullshit. I am very disappointed with people doing such things and disappointed he caved to such.

    • by Kaenneth (82978) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @03:53PM (#46652415) Homepage Journal

      Same, I disagree with him, but supporting freedom of speech is bigger than any one issue.

      • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @03:58PM (#46652487)

        What about my freedom of speech to not donate to an organization headed by someone with whom I disagree?

        What about the freedom of hundreds of employees to feel uncomfortable working for someone who is advocating against you? What about the freedom of workers to quit and find new companies where they are more welcome?

        Freedom goes both ways. In this instance it's one CEO or thousands of users and employees.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:09PM (#46652675)

          If they're uncomfortable, they're being childish. For one thing, diversity means being around people who disagree with you. And as long as they're not directly being a dick to you, you're supposed to exhibit some degree of tolerance, especially in the workplace.

          Second, it's not like the man is a skin-head. He donated $1,000 to a Prop 8 fund. Maybe the guy is a Mormon. I dunno.

          What if he was a communist party member? Shouldn't the 100s of millions of deaths directly attributable to the rise of communist party rule be a little more cause for concern then whether states should accept homosexual marriages? Of course not... that would require some rational thought and reflection. Or, maybe, I dunno... supporting a political party or campaign doesn't mean your motives are nefarious and harmful (even though their effect might cause harm in actuality).

          • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Thursday April 03, 2014 @05:12PM (#46653783) Homepage

            And as long as they're not directly being a dick to you

            How is trying to get a law passed that bans you from marrying the person of your choice because you are homosexual not "directly being a dick to you"? It's a direct attack on the lives of gay people.

            Free speech does not mean freedom from consequences or others reaction to them.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:01PM (#46652533)

        Same, I disagree with him, but supporting freedom of speech is bigger than any one issue.

        Why do so many confuse freedom of speech with freedom from criticism?

      • by assertation (1255714) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:06PM (#46652625)

        His freedom of speech wasn't taken away. He can still say what he wants and contributes to the causes he wants. It is a matter of other people exercising their freedom to do the same and choose a browser for any reason they prefer.

    • by galloog1 (3433335) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @03:53PM (#46652419)
      He and mozilla made a business decision. It didn't matter what his feelings were on the topic; all that mattered was what it would do to the organization and its mission. While I will defend to the death anyone's right to say what they want regardless of if I agree with them I definitely do not blame Eich for it. I blame OkCupid and others instead.
    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @03:53PM (#46652423)

      complete and utter intolerant bullshit.

      its not wrong to be intolerant of intolerance.

      no one in modern times (in a western world) would think its ok to underpay women just because they are women. no one would think its ok to pay less based on skin color. why is it 'just another way to think' when its about giving (or more accurately, denying) equal rights to same-sex couples?

      its wrong to deny people basic rights based entirely on religion,.

      I feel happy that people have pushed such a backward thinking person out of a position of high power. good for mankind! yay! there's still some hope for us, yet.

      • by DaHat (247651) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @03:57PM (#46652457) Homepage

        its not wrong to be intolerant of intolerance.

        Then at least acknowledge that the boycott push was an act of active and outright bigotry when Eich had (past tense) done something that some might see as intolerant, the response to him was far far worse than anything he'd done... and worse sets a chilling prescient for future attacks on those who dare to hold an opposing view.

        • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:09PM (#46652679) Homepage Journal

          Bigotry? Really?

          They didn't think someone that contributed to something that they considered anti-human rights should be the head of an open source organization and they voted with their feet. They didn't go to a legislature and say that Eich and all the other people that gave to this cause should have rights taken away. That's what the anti-gay factions are doing at the moment as they keep losing ground on this issue.

        • by Microlith (54737) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:19PM (#46652883)

          I see you're pushing this nonsensical argument over and over again.

          the boycott push was an act of active and outright bigotry

          It's not bigotry. It's a boycott against what is tantamount to hypocrisy.

          the response to him was far far worse than anything he'd done

          Was it? He doesn't get to be CEO of Mozilla. Whereas he publicly supported a push for an amendment that maligned a section of society and donated to a politician who was all about maligning people he disliked.

          and worse sets a chilling prescient for future attacks on those who dare to hold an opposing view.

          No, it says that organizations like Mozilla, that pride themselves in being very socially liberal and freedom/privacy focused should look more closely at the people they're thinking of giving the very public title of CEO, and not pick people with very public stances that are antithetical to that of the organization.

      • by blueturffan (867705) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:06PM (#46652623)

        its wrong to deny people basic rights based entirely on religion

        Like denying someone the right to remain in a job based on their religious beliefs?

      • by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:12PM (#46652723) Homepage

        If he'd said any of that at work, you'd have a point. But think of the precedent here. Do you want your employer monitoring your political views outside of work and firing you if they think one of your opinions could prove embarassing to the company in the future?

    • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:01PM (#46652535)

      I am a lesbian and I still think hounding Eich for standing for Prop. 8 and threatening to boycott a cornerstone of the internet and internet development if he was CEO of the Mozilla foundation is complete and utter intolerant bullshit.

      So where do you draw the line?

      Lets just Godwin it right off the bat and get it over with; if he were openly a Nazi, funding white supremacy, attacking the jews and blacks right to own property etc... everyone at Mozilla should just show up to work because its no business of theirs what their boss does off the clock? All Mozilla's customers should just keep using the software, because its no business of theirs?

      The reality is that what he stands for offended a lot of people.

      The CEO is the face of the company.

        If you are seriously disappointed that it culminated in people non-violently making it heard that they did not wish to work for this guy, or support a company this guy was the head of then I have to say I'm disappointed in YOU.

      The world needs more of this not less.

    • by mikelieman (35628) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:02PM (#46652553) Homepage

      Erlich's "religious freedom" ends at the perimeter of his own self.

      The moment he tried to apply his cognitive framing TO OTHER PEOPLE, he went off the rails.

      If he contributed to islamic organizations opposing freedom of women to drive or appear in public without hajib, would that be OK?

    • by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:21PM (#46652927)

      I am a lesbian and I still think hounding Eich for standing for Prop. 8 and threatening to boycott a cornerstone of the internet and internet development if he was CEO of the Mozilla foundation is complete and utter intolerant bullshit. I am very disappointed with people doing such things and disappointed he caved to such.

      I am straight (though I'm not sure that sexual orientation really matters since it's a matter of supporting human rights -- I could be against homosexuality yet still support homosexual marriage) and I think that if you don't believe in someone's views (especially a public figure like the CEO of a well known organization), you definitely should speak out against his views and not support his product.

      Everyone should have the right to support whatever cause they want to support, just like everyone should have the right to *not* support that cause or the people that support it or even outright protest it. Some supporters of gay marriage have also faced outrage and boycotts [huffingtonpost.com], so why should opponents of gay marriage not expect the same? Or should we all just keep quiet when some cause offends us?

  • by axlash (960838) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @03:52PM (#46652407)
    ...Keep your political views well hidden if you plan to head up an organisation that is sensitive as to how it is perceived by a cross-section of society.
    • by DaHat (247651) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:04PM (#46652587) Homepage

      ...Keep your political views well hidden

      How well hidden is enough?

      Clearly donations are out as the pro-Prop 8 donor list was leaked/stolen which is part of the reason for this bigotry of differing opinions.

      Even filling in the oval on the ballot could come back and haunt you depending on how your ballot is treated and if it can be linked to you (here in Washington State, it's a trivial matter)).

      you plan to head up an organisation that is sensitive as to how it is perceived by a cross-section of society.

      I don't know about you, I don't know which groups I might be heading in 6 years, or 60 for that matter... best to just stop voting, donating money or having opinions that someone somewhere might find offensive... unless that too is considered offensive.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2014 @03:53PM (#46652413)

    I'm not sure how we are supposed to take this. I guess the Thought Police have won another round. I've never met the guy and don't know much about him but it seems like he was harpooned for personal beliefs (that clearly match up with many other people based on the vote). Are we really this much against differing viewpoints? Against religious freedom?

    Wow America. Step back and get a grip.

  • by SocietyoftheFist (316444) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:04PM (#46652595)

    I feel bad for him, it is only because of his public position that this is an issue. If you dig deep enough, none of us should keep our jobs.

  • by Hussman32 (751772) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:23PM (#46652969)
    Okay, I'm trying to summarize all of the events and make some sense out of it. In 2008, Eich gives $1,000 for support of Prop 8. I voted against Prop 8, as did 48% of the other Californians who voted that day (remember the measure passed). To my knowledge, he has said nothing otherwise and apparently did not interfere with apparently LGBT friendly policies of the Mozilla Corporation. In 2012, his donation was leaked somehow, and it causes headlines to flare. Two years ago. Late March 2014, the Mozilla board selects him as the CEO (he obviously is qualified for the job based on experience), full well knowing about his donation and the internal opposition. In April 2014, virtual blip on the online dating scene, OkCupid, capitalizes first and makes a glorious stand against the Mozilla browser because of a 6 year old donation. The media puts them on every front page, highlighting their commitment to LGBT rights and providing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free advertising.

    So what do I get out of this? The board saw a win-win, if he can weather the storm of the Prop 8 fiasco then they get one of the most technically competent CEOs available, otherwise, they push him out and get a lot of visibility for doing so (and maybe more converts).

    OkCupid was smart to capitalize, and Eich, whom I disagree with, gets the hammer.

    I think Howard Stern was right, if you're planning on leading a public company, keep your mouth shut and be everybody's best friend.
  • Blah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:24PM (#46652993)

    I've got absolutely no time for poofter bashers.

    But the torches-and-pitchforks brigade really overdid it this time.

    Well, Eich did invent Javascript, and despite what that says about his judgement (or lack thereof), I think it's totally unfair to crucify somebody for their personal opinions. Just saying.

  • by Dega704 (1454673) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @04:39PM (#46653281)
    So he supported Proposition 8 six years ago. How much insight does that really give us into the scope of his character? How many CEOs have done much, much more despicable things in their personal and professional lives and faced little to no public criticism for it? You could write a novel on all of the rotten things that Steve Jobs did, but instead he gets praised by the media as the computing messiah, because none of his antics were hot-button political issues. The gay rights community is turning into the very thing they despise. Flame me all you want. This was NOT justice.
  • by thecombatwombat (571826) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @05:11PM (#46653761)

    I've been firmly pro marriage equality and firmly against Prop 8 and its supporters forever. That said, I think this whole thing is really a shame. Supporting this law was deplorable, I think it's very much like supporting miscegenation laws last century. It's backwards and just shouldn't be a thing.

    In On Liberty, JS Mill said something that's stuck with me since my undergrad Philosophy days:

    "Those in whose eyes this reticence on the part of heretics is no evil, should consider in the first place, that in consequence of it there is never any fair and thorough discussion of heretical opinions; and that such of them as could not stand such a discussion, though they may be prevented from spreading, do not disappear."

    However, we've won. The tide has turned and mainstream opinion is on our side. Assuming that's undisputed, we can't just browbeat and boycott people who still disagree. We should engage and accept them. Unless he's actually oppressing anyone, Eich deserves our respect and engagement. It's in our best interest if we ever want to leave the kinds of views he's expressed behind us. A "fair and thorough discussion" of the views supporting Prop 8 may seem downright silly to those who don't hold that view, but if we don't have it, we'll keep this nasty view around for a lot longer than if we do.

    Further, I think people have been comfortable dismissing Eich and wanting him to leave simply because they don't want to acknowledge that someone who's contributed so much could have views they find so deplorable. Again, without supporting his views at all, I think he and those who oppose him both deserve more respect than they've received.

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Friday April 04, 2014 @02:36AM (#46658455)
    You must stop using Javascript or you will be labels as fascists, heterophobes and hypocrites. After all, the man you demonized invented Javascript. He probably contributed more to the internet that you know and love than any living gay person or gay rights supporter. So if you are truly principled and not just a bunch of blind hypocrites and bigots, you all need to get off the javascript enabled internet immediately.

    PS. Don't let the door hit you on your pompous asses as you leave.

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