Mozilla Releases Diversity Statement in Response to Anger Over CEO’s Prop 8 Donation

Yesterday Towleroad reported that newly-appointed Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was a donor to California's anti-gay Prop 8 campaign. Developers Hampton Catlin and his husband Michael have decided to boycott the Mozilla community entirely.

FirefoxLate yesterday, Mozilla, which makes the Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird email client, released a statement, presumably in response to the boycott.

It reads:

Mozilla has always been deeply committed to honoring diversity in sexual orientation and beliefs within our staff and community, across all the project’s activities. One concrete example of this is in our health benefit policies. Mozilla provides the same level of benefits and advantages to domestic partners as we do to married couples across the United States, even in states where it is not mandated. For those who choose life insurance, voluntary spouse coverage extends to domestic partners, including same-sex couples. With thousands of people spanning many countries and cultures, diversity is core to who we are, and we’re united in our mission to keep the Web open and accessible for everyone.

Will you be changing your web browsing client in response to Eich's appointment?

Comments

  1. Mike says

    Ya know, bigots gotta work too. If he does his job and keeps his trap shut, I don’t care. But if this man ever gets vocally discriminatory, like the Chick-fil-A guy or the Duck people, then it will be a problem.

  2. RyanK says

    If Mozilla had behaved appointed someone who then behaved in a way that was discriminatory towards the LGBT community, then I’d understand. But in this case, it is, as far as I’m aware the personal beliefs held by someone who happens to be the CEO. He made a private donation.

    While I disagree with his view, I do respect his right to hold it.

  3. woody says

    nope, switching browsers though I’ve used firefox for years.
    they did not condemn his donation. i won’t support companies that think it’s ok to appoint bigots as their ceos.
    as far as i’m concerned, he’s no better than dan cathy and I won’t use his products.

  4. freak says

    Did they actually think we would forget the viciousness of Prop 8? To his apologists: did you forget being labeled as child molesters by the campaign he not only supported but put the Mozilla name on record with his financial support? You cannot get more public with your disapproval – and it’s not just another “disagreement” on policy.

  5. Mike says

    Many in the tech community, including me, believe that Mozilla has lost its way. They’ve made several bone-headed decisions lately, including their recent plan to start displaying advertising on the start page of the Firefox browser, and now the appointment of this CEO. For those that say it was his private decision, and what matters is how he behaves on the job, would they still believe the same if he were a racist? A Neo-Nazi? A misogynist? It all boils down to the same issue: he doesn’t believe that we are human beings that are equal, and deserving of equal rights and respect. If that’s what he believes, deep down, how can he possibly totally isolate that dark corner of his soul from every day to day decision and activity as he leads this organization?

  6. Reggie777 says

    Just because it might be a personal held position, and thus your “right”, does not mean it comes without some consequences. Just as his donation/support of bigotry caused others suffering, he should not be without feeling some consequences of his acts. In choosing him as their CEO, Mozilla has chosen to make him their figurehead, their leader. If they don’t agree with bigotry, don’t make one your head. I’m migrating to other browsers.

  7. Albert says

    Nice corporate statement, but I would still be interested in Eich explaining his behavior then and whether he would still personally support efforts like Prop 8 today.

  8. says

    I’m a chrome user, but I do agree with the above comments… reardless if he made the donations privately, he is a bigot and that ‘deeply held belief’ I’m sure he espouses to his friends (and I’m sure he has ‘gay friends’ like they ALL do) would no doubt spread throughout his actions at work and home. He is free to donate to whomever, but a company needs to choose its board members who hold the same values as the company states… he does not.

  9. JPaul says

    Agree with Mike 100%…We are constantly reminded to be careful what you post online because employers, University administrators,etc. are referring to social media posts when considering the candidate and many loose out because of their posts in their “personal lives”….the same should hold true in this case….he has proven to be a bigot with his personal history of rhetoric & posts – they (Mozilla) knew it, but still appointed him….deleting Mozilla from all 6 machines at home & work.

  10. Ken says

    If change browsers and Mozilla has no idea as to why, then have I accomplished anything? They sure made a poor choice in hiring a bigot, and I don’t want to give them my business. Is Chrome the only alternative? I haven’t used IE in decades.

  11. D E Sandberg says

    Another consideration: how competent a business can Brendan Eich be? It shows terrible long-term planning on his part, to donate to prejudice as society was learning to rebuke and reject that prejudice.

    If he truly couldn’t see how his donation would have negative repercussions in the long term, then he isn’t qualified to lead Mozilla, or any large business.

    Someone competent for the role of CEO would have looked at the long-term and seen that backing prejudice would be bad for his own reputation and that of any business that put him in a leadership role.

  12. Dixichuk says

    No. I agree w a previous post on this report. It’s getting sort of Million Mommish where every little thing is an outrage. Save energy for the big stuff. The little stuff will submit.

  13. mike says

    Dear Mozilla Publicity Department,
    If Mozilla is so “committed to honoring diversity in sexual orientation and beliefs within our staff and community, across all the project’s activities” then why did you appoint a new CEO who is anti-gay?

  14. Mike says

    Those opposed, do you still use Manhunt? Have you gone back to shopping at Target? Not only are political donations speech, but corporations are people (supposedly) As long as the company behaves and does not change their POV, then no, I will not change. He is one person, one employee, and I’m sure there are employees of Microsoft and Google that are against our rights as well. We don’t judge the company by these private actions. IMHO

  15. Mike says

    @Dixichuk

    Another way to look at it is that we, as a society, use positive and negative reinforcement to define how we expect people to treat other members of society. If we see members of society treating minority groups as “less than”, we have three choices. We can speak up and tell them that isn’t how we want our society to function. We can encourage them, as Putin is doing in Russia right now, and as Hitler did in the 1930s and 1940s. Or, we can do nothing. We can let things slide. But as Desmond Tutu has said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Saying nothing is silent encouragement.

    I always wonder, if, deep down, people like you actually hate themselves.

    If Mozilla had appointed a CEO that gave $1000 to the KKK, would you still shrug it off? What if this were before Loving v. Virginia, and he had given $1000 to a campaign to keep interracial marriage illegal. Would you still shrug it off?

    I hope you wouldn’t.

    Here’s the thing. If you would find that behavior unacceptable, I believe you need to ask yourself why you see a difference with what he actually did.

  16. carswell says

    Longtime Firefox and Thunderbird user, defender and advocate here. I can no longer launch either program without feeling like I’m being spat at in the face. Not only is Eich’s history of support for Proposition 8 appalling, his and Mozilla’s refusal to speak forthrightly to that history, to the outrage it has provoked and to the hurt and disappointment he continues to cause speaks volumes.

    Yesterday I downloaded SRWare Iron, a Chrome derivative with Google’s built-in tracking/reporting disabled but that’s able to run Chrome extensions. A couple of minor issues aside — even with the Neat Bookmarks extension installed, I prefer Firefox’s bookmark handling and when you open a tab it’s background till you click on it — I’m satisfied with the change, especially as pages load faster.

    Will wait a week or two before deleting Firefox, partly in the hope of Mozilla’s making amends, but expect I’ll be staying with Iron for the near future.

    Now to find a replacement for Thunderbird and Lightning…

  17. John says

    The statement avoids the issue: company benefits do not equal marriage equality. It’s the small, day to day stuff that puts the burden on the losers in a separate but equal system, not just the big things like visitation and parental rights. Try using your Blue Shield card to get free insurance coverage for your same sex spouse on a car rental.

  18. Chris says

    I’ll keep using Firefox because it’s a superior web browser (for my purposes anyway) and I doubt that it’s going reach out from my screen and gay bash me. Also, Firefox doesn’t charge for use so I’m confused about how my use of the browser even matters with regard to the CEO’s donations….

  19. anon says

    Mozilla isn’t a company so much as a non-profit, and a great many of the Firefox developers are volunteers. They are pushing to keep the web free and open in ways others are not. So, I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater on this one.

  20. Richard Harney says

    I stopped using Firefox a while ago. Adblock Plus rendered it practically unusable and to hell if I’m going to looking at ads. I do still use it for running iMacros bots because iMacros doesn’t work very well with Chrome.

  21. phluidik says

    Going up on every page I maintain:

    if (navigator.appName == “Netscape” || ‘Mozilla’) { document.body.innerHTML= (
    ‘This site does not support netscape, due to their recent decision to name a bigot as CEO. Please use chrome.’
    )}

  22. oncemorewithfeeling says

    As usual, I couldn’t care less what the self-hating and/or stupid gays are doing.

    I’ll never again use anything this company makes, including Firefox.

    I don’t support neo-Nazis, I don’t support Klansmen, and I don’t support anti-gay bigots — or the companies that make them their CEOs.

  23. Carl says

    I’m switching, heck I’d even switch back to the dreaded IE if I have too. I’m sorry, he is the CEO and will set the stage for Mozilla. His beliefs will play a roll in that stage setting because of his status in the company. Sure it would be different if he was just a programmer but he’s the “Chief”.

    Bye Mozilla….

  24. dana says

    I uninstalled Firefox yesterday after having used it for years. This statement does nothing. One core mission of Firefox is to do good in the world. The board of directors obviously believes that actively working to deny (and succeeding) in stopping gay people from protecting their families aligns with that mission. The CEO is the conscience of the company. He makes no apology for his fight against our community and Mozilla’s poor example of equal benefits belies the point. Plus, the statement reads like “look… we gave this to the gays, applaud us”

  25. Charli says

    Will not help support ignorance. The damage done by moneyed people with hateful beliefs is too much. Though the company says he does not speak for them they are wrong. He is an exact reflection of what they will tolerate in the name of profits.
    Good bye Firefox.

  26. Promiscuous Browser says

    Previous Browser Usage Pattern:
    Chrome 55%
    Firefox 35%
    Opera 5%
    Safari 5%
    IE 0%

    Revised Browser Usage Projection:
    Chrome 80%
    Opera 10%
    Firefox 5%
    Safari 5%
    IE 0%

  27. Sergio says

    I started exclusively using Firefox three years ago. Yesterday, I uninstalled it, and used Chrome for the first time ever. I also convinced three of my friends – two of them straight – to do the same.

    This is a PR disaster for Firefox. What a shame that Mozilla went down this road.

  28. John says

    I had slowly started using other browsers because Firefox is so damn buggy and slow. Their bigot CEO was the tipping point. It’s nice to see Safari has come a long way.

  29. Sri says

    Firefox used to be my favorite browser. But it became slow and it gobbled up huge amounts of memory and resources. The only benefit to using Firefox in 2014 is that it seems to be the best in terms of browser extensions and add-ons.

  30. Kurtis Edwards says

    We are being prejudice and ignorant. If a company hires one person with opposing views we label the whole company bad. Yet! Yet! We are all up in arms about companies being able to donate to campaigns like a person can. We can’t place double standards. Christians, while wrong and ignorant, have just as much right to support their beliefs as we do. Mozilla completely “read” the gay community with listing same sex benefits, yet because of one person we are still pissed off. That’s just BS and we all know it. Get up in arms when/if he possibly changes the inclusiveness presented.

  31. Sergio says

    You’re wrong, Kurtis. He donated for the sole purpose of harming us, and we are certainly allowed to withhold our support for his company. Would you support a company who had a Ku Klux Klan donator as the CEO?

  32. BrowniePoints says

    Firefox uninstalled; on S***-List for life.

    It’s gross when a company points to its inclusive policies [even when they DON’T HAVE TO have them, WOW], and don’t see a problem with supporting bigots and bodies that actively campaign to oppress a groups of people.
    Firefox would think it’s OK for Hilton hotels to be anti-gay in anti-gay countries like Russia if they’re even vaguely friendly to gays in less anti-gay countries.

    Also, to people on this thread and others who equate actively campaigning against gays with holding a private opinion, you’re stupid losers.

  33. Randy says

    Their diversity statement is irrelevant to me. The real statement is their CEO, and that statement is unacceptable.

    I can’t change my own browser, because only Firefox (or forks of it) provide the flexibility for what I need.

    But for my family members who see me as their tech guy? I’m switching them all to another browser, probably Opera. (Google/Chrome sucks)

  34. Bill says

    @freak: for contributions above some nominal and very small amount, there is a legal requirement to list one’s name and employer together with the amount donated. There is a cottage industry in California consisting of people who handle initiative campaigns, often for large corporations (the insurance industry is a prime example) that want to get laws passed for their benefit at the expense of the general public. It is useful to know who is funding an initiative as a way of detecting when this is being done (the legalese is often turgid enough that hardly anyone can make heads or tails out of it.)

    Given that, I wouldn’t criticize him for listing Mozilla as his employer.

    Before getting the townsfolk together, pitchforks in hand, to kill the monster, maybe one should find out what Eich actually did. Did he actively support Prop 8 or was he simply at some event and wrote a check? A quick web search indicated that he went to college at the University of Illinois and Santa Clara University. The latter is a Jesuit-run school, but you do not have to be a Roman Catholic to attend. If he is a Roman Catholic (I have no information on that), he is probably well off enough to get invited to all sorts of events as his bishop or archbishop probably wants to hobnob with anyone who can make large donations. Did he go to such an event and simply provided a check because someone he respected asked him to or was he proactively trying to support Proposition 8?

    BTW, Eich’s personal web page is at https://brendaneich.com/ and he claims he wants LGBT individuals to feel welcome at Mozilla (I’m paraphrasing what he wrote). He also said, “I know some will be skeptical about this, and that words alone will not change anything. I can only ask for your support to have the time to ‘show, not tell'; and in the meantime express my sorrow at having caused pain.” I’d suggest reading it and then deciding whether to believe him.

  35. Håkon says

    Read it. He never apologized for what he did. Done with him… And with Mozilla / Firefox.

    “Did he actively support Prop 8 or was he simply at some event and wrote a check?”

    Why does this matter at all? Did the money go into their coffers? You must be a moron.

  36. Håkon says

    “Did he go to such an event and simply provided a check because someone he respected asked him to or was he proactively trying to support Proposition 8?”

    Also, the profound idiocy of this question… As if there’s a difference in the outcome!

  37. Retro says

    I’m with ALBERT. .. Has Eich continued to donate money to other anti-gay or equality initiatives in other states since Prop H8?

    I used to like Firefox, but have just about had it with whatever is causing the browser’s continual “shockwave crashes” (the non-stop “unresponsive plugin” error message).

    This news about their CEO is just the push I need to give it up totally.

  38. says

    PLEASE tell me I am wrong (include citations), but, doesn’t the Mozilla organization get a great deal of financial support … from GOOGLE? And while I’m here, I do wonder why the “Slashdot dot org” crowd does not appear to have reported this, while finding time and space for a note on “Klingon Beer”?
    As a person who likes using both Windows, and ready made Linux distributions like “mint” this is a real problem to deal with but I will deal with it.
    Simply replacing my PCs with Apple laptops
    would be technologically acceptable. Is Apple in or out of our doghouse? All comment welcome & all the best to you all.

  39. Bill says

    @ Håkon : it is obvious that you are a complete idiot. Do you really think a single contribution of $1000 represented a serious commitment on his part given the compensation typical of CEOs or people likely to become CEOs in Silicon Valley?

    Hint: when just going to a store to pick up some food in this area, I’ve seen multiple Tesla model S cars in the parking lot. There are quite a few people around here with a huge amount of money and for them, $1000 is pocket change.

    If Eich really was out to damage gay rights, I’d imagine he could have donated a lot more than $1000. While he gave $1000, it is not clear who received it. Was it the “Yes on Eight” group or some other group of supporters?

  40. Ted says

    Really, how would apologizing now help? It won’t change what happened 6 years ago. I really don’t get how those expressing massive outrage now would be satisfied with an apology after the fact. And what would it say about Eich if he spoke an apology now that there is (another) controversy. This all came up 2 years ago and blew up on twitter then.

  41. Bill says

    @Sergio : people usually don’t “jump” to defend comments not directed on that, so your “argument” makes you look as dumb as the other guy.

    You guys are ranting about him, yet all you know is that he gave a contribution. You don’t know the circumstances. Was he at some church-sponsored event (don’t know his religion, but the Mormons and Catholics were opposed) where someone authority figure was collecting donations? Do you know what they told him to get it? We know that the “Yes on Eight” people lied shamelessly to the voters. Do you think they were honest with their donors? One claim they made was that passing Proposition Eight was necessary so that religious institutions would not be forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. Of course, they didn’t bother to mention that the California
    Supreme Court decision overturning Prop 8’s predecessor, Proposition 22, specifically covered this case and stated that religious institutions would not be required to perform ceremonies that conflicted with their beliefs. But lying can be an effective way of raising cash in the short term, so lots of people do it.

    So far, Eich hasn’t said much of anything about why he made that donation. Possibly he has something to hide, but it is also possible that he was at some event, and simply wrote a check based on a recommendation from someone he trusted without giving it much thought at the time.

    Finally, when I double checked the donor list, it gave the amount he contributed, but did not include a date. The campaign of lies that “Yes on Eight” side launched didn’t occur until the last month, which is a standard tactic – if you are lying you don’t want to give the other side enough lead time to counter the lies with facts. So Eich might not have had a clue as to what kind of campaign was going to be run – we’d need to know the date of the donation to tell.

    So, if we want to talk about who is an “idiot”, we can start with you and the other guys as both of you are obviously jumping to conclusions before all the facts are available.

  42. Brian says

    Eich’s statements about inclusiveness are nothing but eye wash in my opinion. I am all in favor of a heartfelt change of opinion on our issues. Eich has offered no apologies or explanation for the anguish he helped to inflict on LGBT Californians. Gay people suffered physical and emotional abuse during the Prop. 8 Campaign. It’s true he is entitled to his opinion, but he has to understand there are consequences to doing what he did.

  43. Bill says

    Something else to keep in mind. So far (and this may change as more information becomes available), all Eich is known to have done is to write a check or hand out a credit-card number. We don’t even know if he contacted them or they contacted him and sweet talked him into a contribution. The “Yes on Eight” side was doing its best to pretend they were “protecting marriage” rather than eliminating rights, because statistical surveys have shown that the voters are more likely to respond favorably to “protect” rather than “eliminate”. Some donors might simply not have paid much attention and contributed without realizing the actual intent.

    If people go after Eich for that, it provides a good argument for Protect Marriage in its attempt to keep its donor lists private – some political groups such as the Socialist Workers Party have gotten to keep their donor lists private because donors faced a credible risk of harassment as outlined in http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/04/26/socialist-workers-get-break-on-donor-list/ .

    Making the list for Protect Marriage public is the only way to measure things like Mormon behind-the-scenes involvement in such campaigns. If you start a witch hunt that goes after people merely for making a one-time donation, you will have given Protect Marriage some sorely needed help. Do you really want to do that?

    Also, every civil rights campaign has started with the support of a small number of individuals who were doing something very unpopular at the time. If they would risk losing their jobs for it, the chances of getting a civil rights campaign started would drop substantially. Do we want to set a precedent that results in repression being the norm with no possibility of change?

  44. Phillip says

    I just removed Firefox from my computer and will be sending a letter to the company letting them know that if they hire bigots, I will not use their products.

  45. KC says

    To quote his ilk: “I don’t necessarily have a problem with the lifestyle they chose. I just don’t want them rubbing it in my face.” Translation: STFU! ‘Nuff said.

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