Mozilla Faces Backlash and Charges of Intolerance After Resignation of CEO

Mozilla Chief Executive Brendan Eich
Mozilla Chief Executive Brendan Eich

Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich has stepped down, less than two weeks after he was named top executive of the company that makes the popular web browser, Firefox. 

Last week, Mozilla employees took to Twitter to protest Eich’s promotion, angered by donations he had made to California’s 2008 campaign to ban same-sex marriage. Three Mozilla board members quit over the controversy that prompted dating Web site OKCupid to pen a political missive discouraging its members from accessing the site through Mozilla’s Firefox browser.

But Eich’s resignation drew just as much criticism as his stance on gay marriage, including criticism from those who disagree with his politics.

Andrew Sullivan, a gay writer and proponent of same-sex marriage rights, wrote :

“The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out.”

Business Insider’s Jim Edward said:

“At the heart of the move is a fundamental contradiction: Eich’s foes disapproved of Eich’s intolerance for LGBT people. But in the end they could not tolerate Eich’s opinions, which for years he kept private and, by all accounts, did not bring into the workplace.”

The New York Times’s Nick Bilton and Noam Cohen had this to say:

“In Silicon Valley, where personal quirks and even antisocial personalities are tolerated as long as you are building new products and making money, a socially conservative viewpoint may be one trait you have to keep to yourself. … Mr. Eich’s departure … highlights the growing potency of gay-rights advocates in an area that, just a decade ago, seemed all but walled off to their influence: the boardrooms of major corporations.”

Others offered their two cents on Twitter:

Congrats @mozilla your intolerance ran off a guy who’s work is ubiquitous & revolutionary. You must be proud to be such bullies. #ILikeEich — Chris Loesch (@ChrisLoesch) April 4, 2014

Anyone who thinks the Mozilla situation is simple or obvious is just mistaken. — John Lilly (@johnolilly) April 4, 2014

Delight is such an odd response to the Mozilla decision. There were no good outcomes possible here. All the options were bad. — Nicole Sullivan (@stubbornella) April 4, 2014

Just imagine if this happened to someone due to their progressive political opinions. http://t.co/BmbEvN3Vxj — Tom Gara (@tomgara) April 3, 2014

Congratulations, Mozilla, you burned a witch today. — Michael Arrington (@arrington) April 4, 2014

 SOURCE: GAIL SULLIVAN 
The Washington Post

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