Newly-Appointed Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Donated To Prop 8 Campaign

On Monday, Brendan Eich (right) became CEO of Mozilla, the software community responsible for developing Firefox, the popular web browser. Formerly the multi-tiered group's chief technology officer, Eich was an understandable but not altogether popular choice for the appointment. One reason some are not pleased? He donated funds in support of California's Proposition 8.

BrendaneichDevelopers Hampton Catlin and his husband Michael have decided to boycott the Mozilla community entirely.

Beta News reports:

"Today we were shocked to read that Brendan Eich has been appointed Mozilla CEO. As a gay couple who were unable to get married in California until recently, we morally cannot support a Foundation that would not only leave someone with hateful views in power, but will give them a promotion and put them in charge of the entire organization", says Hampton Catlin.

Catlin further explains, "I certainly recognize that there are great people at Mozilla. And that lots of people there want the org to be open and supportive. However, the board could have chosen ANY of those other, awesome people at Mozilla to be CEO. Hey, I've got a crazy idea, how about a woman at Mozilla? Nope. Out of all the possible candidates they could have chosen, they chose Brendan Eich. CEO's are extremely important to an organization. Their ideas, beliefs, philosophies, and personalities drive organizations".

Catlin wrote an open letter to Mozilla as well, explaining the boycott and urging the community to remove Eich from his position. 

Statistics reported by Beta News, sourced from the California Secretary of State's office, show that Eich gave $1,000 to support Prop 8. 

Prop8_eich

Comments

  1. Brandon h says

    You mean browser, search engines are different.

    Yeah, use Chrome if you can. Or if you insist on something open-source, use Chromium, it’s the open source version of Chrome. It’s windows, mac, and linux.

    Yet another reason Firefox is nearly irrelevant.

  2. Tophier Verdugo says

    I think true healing can only come when we move on from past injustices. We won. Marriage equality is now a fact in California. Let the man live his life and we can live ours.

  3. Jay says

    Brendan has some explaining to do here. But he gave us javascript and his contributions to the tech community are significant. At the very least we should afford him the opportunity to make amends, no one is perfect.

  4. John says

    Oh please, spare us your feigns of indignation. This is the non-issue of all non-issues.

    Come back with a real story if/when Mozilla turns evil or this guy tries to sell us chicken sandwiches.

  5. Jay says

    @CRISPY are you kidding? Chrome is the resource hog. Try opening as meany tabs as you can with both browsers and see which crashes your computer first. Not to mention that Chrome is made by an advertising company, not precisely the kind of entity you would expect to protect your privacy online.

  6. john patrick says

    I deleted Firefox from my computer a long time ago. Thunderbird got all screwed up some time ago and I lost the ability to send messages through it. This article gives me the push I need to extricate my email from the system entirely.

  7. Joe in Ct says

    We have bigger battles to fight than one stupid man’s ancient $1K donation to an anti gay initiative. Let’s stay focused on what truly matters… this just isn’t worth the bullet.

  8. Håkon says

    “Oh please, spare us your feigns of indignation.”

    Is it a surprise that a man who holds such an idiotic view would also be inept with the English language?

  9. John says

    I’ll hold off on uninstalling Firefox, but Mozilla needs to respond.

    They have the right to appoint as their CEO any one they like, but at the same time, I don’t have to affirm that decision. I’ll wait for their response.

  10. Mrs. Sippi says

    I hate the proposition that this is a non-issue because we have bigger fish to fry. I have room to hate on Firefox for hiring a bigot CEO and room for a whole ‘lot more. Let’s not feign scarcity of outrage, resistance, and response. We should be strategic about how we create change, but don’t act like a small antagonism towards Firefox means we can’t also handle resisting employment discrimination, anti-gay violence, internal movement challenges, or any other vital issues.

  11. Randy says

    Firefox remains the only major browser that keeps control in the user’s hands.

    Without Firefox, there is no Internet, frankly.

    But Eich needs to be gone.

  12. jeo says

    I take it they reached out to him and got a comment before they published this “open letter”? No? Oh, maybe, just a chance, the guy has changed his mind.

    Oh, and HIRE A WOMAN INSTEAD OF HIM? What?

    Sorry, I love firefox and couldn’t care less what the guy donated to.

  13. oncemorewithfeeling says

    I’ll uninstall Firefox ASAP.

    Until this bigot can issue an unqualified apology for working against human rights, his company doesn’t exist for me.

    What year does he think this is? 2004?

  14. Jay says

    @CRISPY actually I’m a programmer and I think I know what I’m talking about. Chrome demands more RAM than Firefox does, Chrome keeps every tab alive, anyone can view this in their memory management utility.

  15. Sergio says

    “Sorry, I love firefox and couldn’t care less what the guy donated to.”

    Sorry, you’re not having much of an impact here. This is building steam, and comments like yours only add fuel to the fire.

  16. Gerry says

    Calm down everyone. Unless and until he uses his position to malign gays everyone is jumping the gun. Save boycotting for something serious less we begin to look like the million moms or the Catholic League.

  17. crispy says

    Most recent browser speed tests from Lifehacker.com:

    http://lifehacker.com/5976082/browser-speed-tests-chrome-24-firefox-18-internet-explorer-10-and-opera-1212

    Chrome came in first in almost every single test.

    “Firefox absolutely crumbled under the weight of the tabs. Firefox’s UI had so much trouble loading all nine tabs at once that its UI animations would completely stop while it caught up, finally loading them all after nearly 20 seconds. Whatever the Mozilla team has done, it makes the browser feel like its old, slow self again.”

  18. EchtKultig says

    He looks closeted, and yes, for some reason possibly Mormon. I think the majority of contributors to Prop 8 were Mormon: it’s likely their laity was told in no uncertain terms they should donate to it.

  19. says

    I would LOVE to use another browser, but Firefox is the only one with “Live Bookmarks” which allow me to view headlines from blog sites like this one, using a button that displays a menu indicating which articles I’ve already clicked on.

    There are RSS add-ons for other browsers but nothing comes close to the functionality and convenience of Live Bookmarks.

    I’m also a big fan of how well add-ons like AdBlock Plus works within Firefox to prevent loading of 95% of ads/banners such as those on sites like this, which makes visiting them enjoyable instead of aggravating. And what junk ADP might not catch is prevented from loading by the NoScript add-on. Towleroad, for example, loads quickly without all the social media or “recommended article” applets that load in other browsers.

    As icing on the cake, “MozBackup” lets me save all my Firefox settings, bookmarks, customizations, etc. so I never have to worry about losing them (recently just transferred everything from an old 32-bit XP to 64-bit Win7, totally seamlessly. Did the same for Mozilla Thunderbird, also saving all my old mail, accounts, and configuration.

    Bottom line is, Firefox itself might be heavier than a few other browsers, but its features and add-ons make web surfing a LOT lighter and faster on the system.

    So unless this Eich guy turns out to be the antichrist himself, I’ll wait and watch the drama unfold from the convenience of Firefox. (And if he’s the antichrist, I’ll think about switching.)

  20. Hyacinth says

    This is not a “non-issue” since boycotting Mozilla would not be about his donation for Prop 8, rather it is about putting someone with hateful views in a position of power and influence.

  21. pete n sfo says

    The whole Prop 8 debacle was pretty devastating here in CA. For months after, I would look at all of my neighbors through a “did they or didn’t they” vote to limit my equality under law.

    It’s still a big deal.

    I do worry about Chrome having too many tentacles, but if we get a good answer here, I’m all for abandoning Firefox.

  22. Håkon says

    What’s the point of you listing all the ‘perks’ then, Sparks? Hawking Firefox’s wares? Sergio may or may not be new here, but you definitely sound like a shill.

  23. Bill says

    Err, guys, before boycotting firefox, read Sections 1101 to 1106 of the California Labor Code.

    It is illegal in California for an employer to interfere in the political activities of its employees. Specifically Section 1102 (which is short) states, “No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.”

    Then there is Section 1103: “An employer or any other person or entity that violates this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable, in the case of an individual, by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year or a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) or both that fine and imprisonment, or, in the case of a corporation, by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).”

    Do you guys expect his employer to risk going to jail to retaliate against Eiche for donating to Prop 8?

  24. Topol says

    The gay community has a double-standard when it comes to donations and boycotts.

    When a top executive donates his personal income to anti-gay causes, there’s a cry for a boycott. But we would never condone an employer firing us because we donated our personal funds to a gay cause the employer disagrees with.

    I say, let individuals donate according to their beliefs. Get back to me if the Mozilla Foundation — i.e., the business — donates to an anti-gay cause.

  25. says

    @Håkon
    I listed the specific Firefox features I consider necessities for my own personal user experience, welcoming anyone with expertise in another browser to let us all know if those features are possible without Firefox. I’m certainly not a mindless devotee, but in the past couple years I’ve explored the base features and add-on capabilities of Opera, Safari, and a few others… and haven’t found any viable alternatives. By all means, if you know how to emulate those features (especially ‘Live Bookmarks’) please share.

  26. JJ says

    @TOPOL, there’s no double standard. You’re falsely equating efforts to withhold or revoke rights with efforts to expand and equalize rights, as if there’s no moral distinction, or as if individuals should be entitled to act immorally without incurring the judgement of others. People certainly have certain rights to act on their beliefs, even in ways the harm others, but don’t confuse that with a right to harm people with impunity. Moral consistency does not require treating acts of harm the same as acts of altruism.

  27. Bill says

    @JJ: Did you see the comment I made above quoting a couple of sections of the California Labor Code? Mozilla’s headquarters are located in California, and it is illegal in California for a business to retaliate against an employee based on the employee’s political activities. You may not like that law in this particular case, but that same law also protected people who opposed Proposition Eight and who had Mormon bosses.

    It would be a violation of California labor law for a business to make decisions regarding someone’s employment based on political activities when that employee was not at work.

    For that reason, I’m not going to blame Mozilla as an organization – they were simply complying with California law by ignoring Eich’s political activities.

  28. JJ says

    “it is illegal in California for a business to retaliate against an employee based on the employee’s political activities”

    That may be true, but not on the basis of what you quoted, which covers extortion, not retaliation. Section 1102 says you can’t threaten to fire someone in order to extort or suppress some political action. If in 2008 Mozilla had threatened to fire any employee who donated to Prop 8, then they would have violated that law.

    The only retaliation section 1102 covers is that against whistleblowers and employees who refuse to break the law.

  29. Bill says

    @JJ: Section 1102 stated, “No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.”

    Furthermore, section 1101 states that “No employer shall make, adopt, or enforce any rule,
    regulation, or policy: (a) Forbidding or preventing employees from engaging or
    participating in politics or from becoming candidates for public office. (b) Controlling or directing, or tending to control or direct the
    political activities or affiliations of employees.”

    Political activity clearly includes making donations to an initiative campaign. Section 1102 covers more than whistleblowers (who are covered in Section 1102.5).

    BTW, here’s an example based on an actual lawsuit related to Prop 8:
    http://www.volokh.com/2013/08/06/lawsuit-over-firing-based-on-employees-removal-of-employers-gaylesbian-pride-month-poster/
    (read it for the legal analysis)

  30. JJ says

    @BILL, I’ve read the statute. The key words are, “by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment.” In other words, threatening to fire someone. That simply doesn’t apply in Eich’s case.

    Also, the case you cited was not a ruling on the merits of a section 1102 lawsuit. The trial court summarily dismissed the lawsuit without reaching the merits of the case, and the appellate court reversed that dismissal and remanded the case back to the trial court. Furthermore, even if that plaintiff eventually won, that situation isn’t analogous to Mozilla’s. The law says people are entitled to keep their jobs, it doesn’t say they’re entitled to promotion.

    You’re perfectly welcome to use this law to justify your opinion, if that helps you, but I see it as a stretch and a rationalization, not a sound reason.

  31. Alex says

    The first thing I did when I first learning about this was an immediate uninstallation of Firefox and lowering my standards to Chrome. After less than an hour using Chrome and seeing the clear inferiority of it, I swallowed my pride and went back to Firefox. People actually honestly still think that Chrome is more efficient and faster than Firefox. You people who think that FF is a resource hog, jeez, update your versions already. FF is top-tiered on synthetic and real-world resource use benchmarks, beating Chrome. I loath homophobic bigots, but one bigot won’t force my hand to use Chrome, sorry.

  32. Bill says

    @JJ: the law is pretty clear – what part of “”No employer shall make, adopt, or enforce any rule,
    regulation, or policy” are you having trouble understanding?

    You also misread the court case – while it did not rule on the merits of a particular lawsuit, it contained an analysis of what the law implied.

    It’s one thing not to like Eich, particularly his support for Prop 8, but quite another to argue about what California law clearly states (a law that protects those who support LGBT rights as well). I donated to the “No on 8″ campaign, and also contributed some time. Do you think an employer should have been able to use that as an excuse to screw up my career? If that had been allowed, particularly before gay rights had the level of acceptance it now does, progress would have been much, much slower.

  33. JJ says

    @BILL, again, the section you quote doesn’t entitle anyone to a promotion. Even if the board had appointed another CEO because it didn’t like Eich’s Prop 8 donation, that single decision, privately deliberated, wouldn’t rise to the level of a policy preventing employees from engaging in politics.

    Yes, the court case you cited contained a legal analysis. It examined what the law would require if the plaintiff’s version of events were true, and what it would require if the defendant’s version of events were true, to show the trial court why the case couldn’t be dismissed without a trial. It then sent the case back to the trial court to determine which version of events were true.

  34. Bill says

    @JJ: again, when a law says, “”No employer shall make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy,” that clearly covers policies involving promotions and hiring. It clearly means that you can’t consider an employee’s off-work political activities in how that employee is treated, as considering that would constitute a policy. That does not “entitle” a person to a promotion but rather means that the criteria for a promotion cannot include his political activities when not at work.

    The intention of the legislature was to make sure that citizens of California can participate in the political process without having to worry about being punished for it at work because someone doesn’t like their politics.

    BTW, California’s legislature + nearly all state offices are controlled by Democrats. Meanwhile, the Republicans in California have consistently opposed gay rights due to catering/marketing to social conservatives. The people running businesses tend to favor Republicans as they are more willing to eliminate government regulations. If you throw out such laws as the one I cited, it would be easier to “get” people like Eich, but it would also give an advantage to people who consistently vote against gay rights.

    The smart thing to do is to support this law, if only because it benefits supporters of gay rights far beyond whatever anyone could have done to harm gay rights with a $1000 contribution from Mr. Eich.

  35. truthteller says

    I just downloaded google chrome and this will be the last time I use firefox. I cannot in good conscience support a company who hires a CEO who donates money to legalize the treatment of other citizens as subhuman because of his beliefs.

  36. ISLAM SHALL RULE says

    Eich is jewish which shows the hopeful anti-semitism of american gays. So you hate us Muslim Arabs for our Holy Faith and you are anti-semitic too? Seems like we have at least one enemy in common. Then you are the enemy or our enemy for the time being. We fully support your anti-zionist anti-judaic hate of Eich and urge you to punish him for his judaic talmudic torah stance. Hate proudly, you enemie of our enemy!

  37. Just saying says

    Before he steps down, the gay community uninstalls their Mozilla products. After he is pressured to resign, the straight community uninstalls Mozilla products.
    The net result is that Mozilla loses in all cases. Interesting demographics here. Depends upon how big each community is I suppose as to whether which side wins.

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