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Mozilla CEO resigns amid controversy surrounding anti-gay marriage donation

Thursday, April 3, 2014
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Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich is stepping down as CEO after protests of his support of a same-sex marriage ban in California.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based nonprofit maker of the Firefox browser had promoted him last week.

Brendan Eich

Brendan Eich

Eich has been at the center of a controversy surrounding his 2008 donation to the proponents of Proposition 8, the campaign against marriage equality in California.

Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman of Mozilla, confirmed Eich’s resignation in a statement on Thursday.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.

Mozilla has been in damage control since Eich’s promotion when developers Hampton Catlin and his husband Michael went public with their decision to boycott the Mozilla community because of Eich was a donor to California’s anti-gay Proposition 8 campaign.

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Eich responded to the controversy, saying in a statement last week that he was sorry for “causing pain,” that he would make an “active commitment to equality” at Mozilla, but did not directly address his position on same-sex marriage equality or his donation to the Prop 8 campaign.

That statement fell flat with some Mozilla employees, who took to Twitter to call for Eich to step down.

On Saturday, Mozilla posted a statement on its blog that it supports marriage equality following an announcement that three board members had resigned.

On Wednesday, Eich gave a lengthy interview to CNET, where he again refused to address his personal opinion on same-sex marriage or LGBT equality.

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