Mozilla CEO Resigns Amidst Anti-Gay Controversy

Brandon Dimmel's picture

Mozilla's co-founder, Brendan Eich, is stepping down after only one week as the company's chief executive officer (CEO). Eich is abandoning the post amidst controversy surrounding a $1,000 donation to a same-sex marriage ban.

Eich is a US-born computer programmer who started his career in California's Silicon Valley during the late 1980s. In the 1990s he worked on Netscape, one of the Internet's earliest web browsers. Eich was also a key figure in the development of JavaScript, an exceptionally popular programming language.

Brendan Eich is arguably best known for founding the Mozilla Foundation in 2003 as chief architect. Eventually, he helped create Firefox, which is currently one of the world's most popular Internet browsers.

Given Eich's experience and his central role in the growth of Firefox, it shouldn't be much surprise that Mozilla would eventually appoint him CEO.

Mozilla Leader Supports Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The move to CEO raised a furor both inside and outside the firm. That's because Eich once made a $1,000 donation to support California's Proposition 8, a 2008 constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex marriage. (The ban was overturned in 2013 after the United States Supreme Court supported a lower-court ruling, defeating the measure.)

Shortly after Eich's newly assigned position as CEO, roughly half of Mozilla's board of directors resigned their posts. Experts speculate that this was directly related Eich's views on same-sex marriage. (Source:

Meanwhile, OKCupid (a popular dating portal) blocked Firefox users from accessing their site in protest to the Eich hiring. In a statement, OKCupid claimed that Eich "is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples," and insisted that "we would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OKCupid."

Embattled Mozilla CEO Steps Down, Leaves Firm

In the days that followed, Mozilla faced increasing pressure to reverse its decision to make Eich chief executive. In response to the furor, Eich decided to step down, announcing his resignation from the company on Thursday.

In a statement, Eich acknowledged that "under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader."

Mozilla chairwoman Michelle Baker then apologized to Mozilla users for moving slowly to act on the controversy surrounding their embattled CEO. "We didn't act like you'd expect Mozilla to act," Baker said. "We didn't move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We're sorry. We must do better." (Source:

It's not yet clear what Eich plans to do next, and his resignation could be costly for Mozilla. Experts have suggested that the company's ongoing work to adapt its products for mobile devices -- like smartphones and tablets -- could take a step back with the loss of its co-founder and leading programmer. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

What do you think of the way people reacted to Eich's appointment as Mozilla CEO? Do you believe Mozilla handled the controversy in a professional way? Do you believe it's unfair to suggest a CEO's social views will affect the way they run their company?

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adh773's picture

Living in countries that have supposed "Free Speech" I find it rather odd that people cannot do exactly that. Though it might be distasteful to some it is still that persons right to say it. It is the position that he is in that precludes such comments. Nothing else.

g8rangie's picture

We are only tolerant of your views if they are aligned with ours. Hypocrites!

durhamrond's picture

I totally agree! The left only accepts their viewpoint as legitimate, something they once in the past accused conservatives of doing. I guess it's okay since it's them. I have nothing personal against gays, but I DEFINITELY DO have something against those who say, in the words of George Orwell: "Some of us are more equal than others". Don't ask for tolerance for same sex marriage unless you're willing to extend the same tolerance to those who don't favor it. It's called free speech, not to mention civility, a concept the left know absolutely nothing about.

ldpress's picture

So much for the MozillaWiki draft Code of Ethics! Words like "respect" and "consideration" being pledged to by the leadership of Mozilla must have n o meaning. The sense of security that drew me to use Firefox is shaken.

scotindin's picture

I think it is a personal preference for each individual. I don't live their lives and they don't live mine. People make so much out of nothing it's pathetic. People should mind their own business as to what a persons' sexual preferences are. People don't bitch about heterosexuals so why bitch about homosexuals? I say live and let live. Hire the CEO back if you're lucky enough too.

dna's picture

I may share some of Brendan's convictions. Or, I may have nothing whatsoever in common with his worldview. But I will say this. I hope he is able to find a position equitable to his skillset in a firm that treats all people with fairness and dignity regardless of their personal views.

When someone abuses a position of power to discriminate against another class that is the time for action, perhaps beginning with an attempt at correction & reconciliation. Failing that stronger steps may need to be taken. I'm not at all aware of these elements, or anything of the sort, having been part of the narrative of this situation.

Alan Haggard's picture

Tolerance: Putting up with somebodys differing opinion. Agreeing to disagree.

That was then, this is now.

Tolerance: If you don't agree with me, you're a bigot.

Such a sad world...

richardls's picture

Very sad, but all too common in today's world, the bigots on the left have the upper hand or so they think. And they accuse the right of being bigots, they are a prime example of a bigot!!

PERSHON's picture

It is not what is his view it is where do you get the right to censor it. The reaction of those to the left is perfectly okay when they say they oppose that view. It is perfectly NOT okay when they try to censor his point of view. Mozilla has lost my respect for allowing the "mob" to remove someone from their position because he holds a different view. They are hypocrites for not living up to their own standards. Remember that if you don't allow others their freedom of speech you will eventually wind up without yours.

wdruce's picture

It's a sad day when a open source pioneer folds to a closed source mob.

ldpress's picture

Does switching to the palemoon browser constitute not using Firefox?

Dennis Faas's picture

The Palemoon browser is powered by Mozilla according to their webpage - there is a graphic that says so near the very bottom of their home page.

It's my opinion that dumping Firefox wouldn't be a wise decision (even if Mozilla made a PR mistake with all of this), especially if you compare the potential security risks by running a less competent browser - whichever browser that may be. But, that's your choice to make.

jacspivey's picture

I agree with his stand.

Homosexuality is unclean. It has been since the times of Adam and Eve. In the animal kingdom such activity is not tolerated. Why should this uncleanness be tolerated just to be politically correct in order to increase profits? America has taken God out of the schools and the centrality of its government and has capitulated to promulgating homosexuality (including pornography) and Islamic acceptance through out every strata (especially in our educational institutions) of its society. America these undercurrents are having very severe consequences of undermining this country's credibility through out the world.

funkyecat's picture

He never should have resigned. The gay movement is trying to have everyone give them special treatment. True they should not be discriminated against in work, etc. But marriage existed before government and religion. There are only 2 sexes, not four (or more). Marriage is not a working job and should be treated as it has since man was created.

blueboxer2's picture

Eich should have stayed and Mozilla should have toughed it out.

I do not approve of anyone who contributes to the PC (provincial) or Conservative (federal) parties. I think they're wrong and that the parties act in frequent contravention of the religious principles that underlie our society.

But, it's their right to be wrong, and unless they try to apply their misguided philosophies to the execution of their business responsibilities, they should not be penalized. As liberals note, the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation, and the same applies to business and employment in general.

There is a line between one's private life and one's extension of his private beliefs into the employment sphere. But so long as that line is not crossed, no criticism is valid. And there is no room for political correctness in the call.