Mozilla Reiterates Support for Marriage Equality as Three Board Members Step Down

Firefox-creator Mozilla continued to do damage control over the weekend after last week's news that newly-appointed CEO Brendan Eich was a donor to California's anti-gay Proposition 8 campaign.

EichFollowing a rather lackluster statement from Eich in response to the controversy, several employees used Twitter to call on him to step down from his position.

On Saturday, Mozilla's blog posted a statement "to clarify Mozilla’s official support of equality and inclusion for LGBT people."

Mozilla’s mission is to make the Web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive and more just. This is why Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples. No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves the same rights and to be treated equally.

We realize that not everyone in our community or who uses our products will agree with this. But we have always maintained that as long as you are willing to respect others, and come together for our larger mission, you are welcome. Mozilla’s community is made up of people who have very diverse personal beliefs working on a common cause, which is a free and open internet. That is a very rare and special thing.

Mozilla has always worked to be a welcoming community, committed to inclusiveness and equality for all people. One voice will not limit opportunity for anyone. That was true yesterday and will be true tomorrow. Our Community Participation Guidelines state:

The Mozilla Project welcomes and encourages participation by everyone. It doesn’t matter how you identify yourself or how others perceive you: we welcome you. We welcome contributions from everyone as long as they interact constructively with our community, including, but not limited to people of varied age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views.

Our culture of openness extends to encouraging our staff and community to be candid about their views on Mozilla’s direction. We’re proud of that openness and how it distinguishes Mozilla from most organizations. Most of all, we want to ensure that all Mozilla users and community members know how deeply committed we are to openness and equality for all people.

FirefoxMozilla Foundation Executive Director Mark Surman posted about the controversy on his blog:

Mozilla is messy. Our ability to set aside differences does not mean that everything is simple or that we’re always civil. In fact, when the topic is the web or Mozilla itself, we quite often get into open, heated and, for the most part, thoughtful debate. Many people outside Mozilla may not understand this. But, again, it makes us stronger.

As did Mozilla's board chairwoman Mitchell Baker:

I am an avid supporter of equal rights for all. I support equal rights for the LGBT community, I support equal rights for underrepresented groups, and I have some pretty radical views about the role of underrepresented groups in social institutions. I was surprised in 2012, when his donation in support of Proposition 8 came to light, to learn that Brendan and I aren’t in close alignment here, since I’ve never seen any indication of anything other than inclusiveness in our work together (note: I’ve edited this sentence to give clarity).

KovacsMeanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that three Mozilla board members resigned over Eich's appointment:

Gary Kovacs (pictured), a former Mozilla CEO who runs online security company AVG Technologies; John Lilly, another former Mozilla CEO now a partner at venture-capital firm Greylock Partners; and Ellen Siminoff, CEO of online education startup Shmoop, left the board last week.

The departures leave three people on the Mozilla board: co-founder Mitchell Baker; Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, and Katharina Borchert, chief executive of German news site Spiegel Online.

The three board members who resigned sought a CEO from outside Mozilla with experience in the mobile industry who could help expand the organization’s Firefox OS mobile-operating system and balance the skills of co-founders Eich and Baker, the people familiar with the situation said. They did not want to be identified because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Mozilla denied reports that Eich was the reason for the board members' departure in a statement to other media outlets:

"The three board members ended their terms last week for a variety of reasons. Two had been planning to leave for some time, one since January and one explicitly at the end of the CEO search, regardless of the person selected."



    Wow, the folks at Mozilla are idiots. Don’t they understand that their problems won’t stop until the repellent and hateful Brendan Eich is fired as CEO? Silly fools.

  2. Håkon says

    The gay community has mobilized well on this particular issue. Towleroad was no small part of that, since it was one of the first outlets to report on this problem in detail.

  3. Eugene says

    Personally, I think it’s enough that Mozilla explicitly supported marriage equality. If that was their first statement, the controversy wouldn’t have blown up as much.

  4. Uninstalling says

    Any suggestions for an app that will convert years worth of e-mails stored in Thunderbird into another format?

  5. JJ says

    “We realize that not everyone in our community or who uses our products will agree with [equality for all].”

    But surely your CEO shouldn’t actively work against this principle, right? There’s an ethical fallacy that seems to afflict a lot of would-be allies these days (e.g., Coca-cola, now Mozilla): they think making real progress toward equality somehow buys them credit to then turn around and subvert that commitment when it’s convenient. It’s a basic lack of integrity. They don’t seem to realize that with principles like fairness and equality, committing only halfway doesn’t really count. By definition.

  6. elwoodl says

    I wonder . If Brendan Eich had donated money to the KKK’s Prop 9 initiative to bring back slavery for blacks, would he still have a job at Mozilla?

  7. JJ says

    “Our culture of openness extends to encouraging our staff and community to be candid about their views on Mozilla’s direction.”

    It is in that spirit that Mozilla has disabled comments on their blog post….oh, wait.

  8. Robotron says

    I haven’t used Firefox/Mozilla in years. And the corporate side of the company is trying to have it’s cake and eat it too. But reality truly bites: Mozilla is/will lose big time over its appointment of an anti-gay man.Now the company is backpedaling trying to change its stance and make it seem like it is supportive and pro gay,when it’s actions show otherwise. Obviously Mozilla didn’t perform deep due diligence on Mr. Eich.

  9. says

    As previously noted, all Firefox products have been removed from my three computer systems. Get rid of Eich, replace him with a gay CEO or a well known gay-supporter CEO and I’ll consider reinstalling Firefox. As a Mac user I certainly don’t need it and can easily live without it.

  10. Elsewhere1010 says

    I’m sorry, but you just don’t have enough lipstick. I mean in all the world you don’t have enough lipstick.

    Don’t you realize just how big this pig is?

  11. trees says

    It feels great to have just uninstalled Firefox from two computers. Good-bye to an active supporter of inequality and his clueless company.

  12. Retro says

    Does anyone know what fueled Eich’s support of Prop H8? (e.g. a particular religious affiliation, or what?). Exactly what informs his perspective to write a check.

  13. anon says

    I should assure everyone that Mozilla and Firefox are foremost allies in anything Internet related.

  14. Icebloo says

    Once again I feel the need to have to tell you all that GOOGLE & FACEBOOK have been spending millions of dollars funding the A.L.E.C. forum. This forum develops extreme right wing policies for the Republican Party – many of which are anti-gay, anti-choice & anti-women. They are also attempting to scrap food stamps, social security, Medicaid and Medicare so don’t think using Google Chrome is any better than using anti-gay Firefox !
    They are all the same – they are all about money and don’t give a f*ck about anything but lowering their own tax bill.

  15. Icebloo says

    @Retro – Looking at the pictures of Eich I would take a wild guess and say that Eich’s anti-gay sentiment is because he has not yet come to terms with his own homosexuality.

    This is only my OPINION and I have no proof so please don’t sue me mean Mr Eich !

  16. PrincessLeia says

    Anti-gay apologist PR team says what?

    That’s a lot of noise I’m not going to bother reading. They just don’t get it.

  17. GreatLakeSailor says

    What ICEBLOO said.
    google, ALEC, faceplant, err, facebook. Anti everything that dares interfere, or even might interfere, with money or power – aka Fascism.

  18. Rob says

    We need to make this the same firestorm a company would see if they hired an anti-Semitic CEO.

  19. Perry Chamberlain says

    I have removed all mozilla products from all my family’s devices. In the 21 century, the Idea that a corporation would do such an incredibly stupid thing, like appointing a dinosaur BIGOT to the position of CEO, is incredible.
    This PIG will carry his hate speech with him forever.
    Mozilla, you are fired.
    20 years of support for mozilla, ends today.
    fire this PIG.