OkCupid Blocks Firefox Users Over Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich’s Anti-Gay Views

Okcupid

Over the past week we've been following the outrage over the news that newly-appointed Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich donated to California's anti-gay Proposition 8 campaign. Eich's donation was revealed by a pair of gay married developers who announced they were planning to boycott Mozilla's platform in protest.

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.

Now the dating service OkCupid is blocking access to its site by users of Mozilla's Firefox browser and have posted this message to those who try to access the site on Firefox:

Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.

Mozilla's new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.

Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there's a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we're asserting ourselves today. This is why: we've devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we've worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it's professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.

If you want to keep using Firefox, the link at the bottom will take you through to the site.

However, we urge you to consider different software for accessing OkCupid:

OkCupid then provides links to other popular browsers.

On Saturday, Mozilla's blog posted a statement "to clarify Mozilla’s official support of equality and inclusion for LGBT people." Mozilla Foundation Executive Director Mark Surman posted about the controversy on his blogas did Mozilla's board chairwoman Mitchell Baker.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that three Mozilla board members resigned over Eich's appointment though Mozilla denied reports that Eich was the reason for the board members' departure in a statement to other media outlets.

Comments

  1. Randy says

    Boycott or not, pissing off your users to make a point isn’t going to make them slap you on the back and say “thanks, dude, I didn’t know about that”. It’s going to make them switch to Tinder or whatever is cool now.

  2. oncemorewithfeeling says

    Mozilla has a paid troll commenting on this site? Good. Glad to know they’re feeling the heat.

    I love the fact that essentially the entire world is not letting them get away with this. I don’t need a dating site, but, if I did, it would OkCupid from here on out.

    Now that is a responsible corporation.

  3. Bob K says

    HE HAS NOT APOLOGIZED

    HE HAS NOT SAID THAT HIS CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS WRONG TO SPONSOR PROP 8

    No one should have to work or shop someplace where the boss is “on good behavior at work, but has privately supported anti-equality.

    The catholic assault on equality continues, with schools insisting on “morals clauses” that explictly target Gays

  4. steve talbert says

    If anyone was “pissed off” about what OK Cupid did, it was Mozilla. Any of OK Cupid’s subscribers could still go to the site, it’s just that some had to read a note about what horrible things they support by helping a horrible company. We have freedom of speech. Mr. Eich is free to give to whatever cause he wants and others are free to say that’s a terrible thing to do.

  5. Asher says

    I protested vigorously against Prop. 8, and donated a lot of money to the cause. However, I’m uneasy with this whole thing. People should be able to donate money to whatever cause they want. The fact that we don’t agree with the cause should not prevent this guy from making his own choices.

    I work in the K-12 education industry. Some of the people I work with are very conservative and very religious. I would not be happy if they cancelled my contract because they discovered that I am a proponent of gay rights and marriage equality. My personal and political leanings don’t affect my ability to do my job.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Stop being a bunch of hypocrites.

  6. thrutch says

    Im not aid by mozilla but will take a cheque of offered.
    I just know that some ppl donate to causes without researching what they do. Cause of a friend or they were at lecture. Some ppl just blanket donate to political causes support by their party or representative.
    He is entitled to his opinion, the day his opinion impacts mozilla policy is the day to get upset. So talk to me when he bans queers from working for him.

  7. Chris says

    I mean, I guess I appreciate the effort, but seriously, OKCupid? This is getting insane.

    A) The dude made one donation like, what? Five years ago now? That’s supposed to make him a pariah forever? Seriously?

    B) He is not the only employee at Mozilla. If Mozilla “fails” (and PS, it’s not going to: see below) it would hurt a bunch of people, conservative and liberal, gay and straight.

    And C) Mozilla is a non-profit organization supported by grants and donations. It doesn’t gain or lose anything as a result of you not being able to access OKCupid or you switching to Chrome or whatever other nonsense you armchair activists are thinking of.

    I’m all for boycotting to make a political point, but seriously, people. This boycott is potentially even stupider than the Stoli one. Think about this stuff before taking rash and ridiculous actions. You’re making all of us look bad.

  8. Will says

    Asher, we’re not preventing him from doing anything. But actions have consequences and he’s getting much deserved backlash because of his actions. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  9. DavidR says

    ASHER: Thank you for your work in this area. However, I respectfully disagree. Eich claimed that his donation was “personal”. But that’s just the ironic point: choosing to fight SOMEONE ELSE’S marriage isn’t personal, it’s political and fascist at that.

  10. Rowan says

    TRUTCH, if you are an intelligent person who managed to climb that high BUT you don’t do research on who you give money to, then you should NOT be head of a powerful company…or ANY company.

  11. Knock says

    I fully support the sentiment and agree he, and now the company, have to address the matter. That said, telling me which browser to use is a good way to stop me using your site, so they shouldn’t be surprised if they see a decline in use from Firefox users.

  12. Vint says

    @Thrutch: Eich hasn’t said he donated because he was ignorant, or was with a friend, or was misled by a lecture. Nor was his donation to a party or representative. Why are you furiously erecting straw man arguments?

    Mozilla can either accept the consequences of Eich’s bigotry, or figure out a way to get rid of him. Those are pretty much the only choices.

    In neither case will anyone have interfered with Eich’s right to have an opinion, which he is certainly free to hold and express, knowing that such expressions have repercussions.

  13. says

    I’m not sure why commenters keep saying, He should be entitled to his opinion, and, He should be able to donate to whichever (civil rights depriving) cause he wants. He did both. No one prevented him from doing either.

    Now, people and businesses who–unlike Mr. Eich–support marriage equality have an equal opportunity to exercise their right to speak out and act on their values. He has a right to an opinion. He doesn’t have a right to have his public actions go unchallenged if others find them reprehensible.

    As for him not knowing what he was donating to: BS. If that were the case, he’s had a couple of years to say, Oops, my bad. He hasn’t.

    I’m not in the market for OkCupid, but it speaks well of them to take this stance.

  14. Robert says

    Mr. Eich has a right to believe in and to donate to any cause he chooses. But actions have consequences. By selecting him as their CEO, Mozilla is now facing these consequences.

    Hiring a bigot as your CEO reflects poorly on a company, and their business should suffer as a result of their decision to hire him. Imagine the outrage if he’d donated to some white supremacy organization or an anti-Semitic group. The Prop 8 campaign was hateful and designed to take away a civil right that had already been granted. I don’t care how little money he donated or how long ago it took place. There’s no statute of limitations for supporting hate and bigotry. Mozilla must deal with the repercussions of hiring this man.

    I’ve never used OK Cupid, but I love what they did. I’ve removed Firefox from my computer.

  15. Icebloo says

    It’s great that OK Cupid is taking a stand for us against Firefox but I don’t understand why GOOGLE and FACEBOOK get a free pass ?
    GOOGLE and FACEBOOK are way worse than Firefox yet no one is even talking about them.

    GOOGLE and FACEBOOK have been giving millions of dollars to A.L.E.C. – the right wing extremist forum that develops insane right wing policies for the Republican Party – anti-gay, anti-women, anti-black, anti-latino, anti-choice policies. They are using their money to lobby for an end to food stamps, social security, Medicaid and Medicare. They have been involved in many of the laws that have pushed minority voters off the voter registration list.

    We need to be boycotting GOOGLE and FACEBOOK as well as Firefox and screaming it out loud so more people become educated.

    http://consortiumnews.com/2013/10/11/googles-darkalliance-with-alec/

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/11/22/explaining-to-grist-why-facebook-and-google-belong-to-alec/

    http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2013/12/06-1

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norman-solomon/google-doing-evil-with-al_b_4079436.html

  16. says

    As previously noted (again): I have removed Firefox from all three of my computers and will not use the browser until Mozilla removes Eich and apologizes to the gay community. You can do the same. Simply delete Firefox and use another browser, there are many of them.

  17. Bill says

    I would put okcupid on my “don’t use under any circumstances” list. This has nothing to do with Eich or gay rights, but with general principles regarding how the Internet works. It is arrogant beyond belief for a web site to dictate to users which browser they should use. If that behavior became widespread, the web would go down the toilette and become unusable.

    I’ll refer interested readers to RFC 2616. Here’s a quote from it (and note that it was not put into the protocol for purposes of denying users access to web sites or to facilitate harassing users):

    14.43 User-Agent

    The User-Agent request-header field contains information about the user agent originating the request. This is for statistical purposes, the tracing of protocol violations, and automated recognition of user agents for the sake of tailoring responses to avoid particular user agent limitations.

    [ the term User-Agent in this case refers to the browser one is using ]

  18. F1 says

    Bill, you didn’t actually read the whole article for you to say, “for a web site to dictate to users which browser they should use.” They didn’t “dictate” anything; try using less emotionally charged words unless you want to be labeled a demagogue.
    This following quote was ONE LINE and it was in its OWN PARAGRAPH, but you STILL FAILED to miss it.–> “If you want to keep using Firefox, the link at the bottom will take you through to the site.”

    I’m reminded of the quote “Joanie, if you had actually read the short story, which, at a whopping 13 pages, would have kept you up all night, you would know that…”

  19. Bill says

    @F1: that is still completely unacceptable. If you had spend as much time as I have trying to debug networking software, you’d be annoyed with them too.

    The sort of arrogant behavior OKCupid engaged in can really hurt people. I’ll give you an example.
    I was trying to show a friend an application that used Javascript locally for some navigation purposes. It worked fine on my home machine, so I copied the pages to a web server that my ISP provided its customers (very limited amount of space, but that was OK for just showing something to someone). It worked just as expected initially, and then suddenly failed because my
    #*$#&(#* ISP decided it was going to eliminate that service and rather than just sending email, they decided to modify one’s web page. My use of frames and scrolling was dependent on knowing how the page was laid out, and my ISP broke that by inserting its garbage.

    Now, imagine you are doing a presentation, set something like this up, and have someone try the page as you talk. You can’t debug this in real time, so the sudden failure creates an embarrassment. It suggests that you didn’t test things adequately even though the real problem was that an arrogant ISP pulled the rug out from under you by doing something nobody could reasonably anticipate.

    In this case, OKCupid is violating the intent of an Internet standard (for HTTP). That’s the issue. It doesn’t matter what they have on the bottom of their silly page.

  20. Bill says

    @Vint: no it isn’t a user-agent limitation, a term that has a very specific technical meaning. Read up on how to do what should be very simple operations with Javascript and you’ll find it is a horrible mess, mainly because all browsers don’t fully implement the document object model and don’t do it in compatible ways.

    The term “user agent” refers to the software (or in some cases hardware) used to access some service – i.e., what the computer is using on behalf of a user. Examples are browsers and email programs, but also any number of applications.

    BTW, the way I discovered that my ISP was playing games with a web server was while debugging an application that read an XML configuration file. It could read the file from disk or from a web server. I got it working when reading from a disk, so I FTP’d the XML file to the web server my ISP provided me and tested reading from that. The application crashed. I spent 15 to 30 minutes staring at the code and trying to figure out what trivial mistake I was overlooking. Then out of desparation I used another application to look at what I was getting back from the server and it looked nothing like the XML file I put there. Instead, it was some javascript-laden HTML page telling me that they were ending the web service in month or so and that I should copy any files I might have on it. I had a header set telling the server that I would only accept XML files, but my ISP ignored that and gave me something else instead of an error code as they should have. Let’s just say that I was not pleased with their performance, and purposely causing such erratic behavior gets me kind of mad.

    You’d be mad about it too if you ever had the experience of pulling your hair out (figuratively) while trying to debug that sort of problem.

  21. Bill says

    @ Håkon : I know you are not too bright. Try reading what I wrote again – it is not in any sense an “apology” for Eich but rather a criticism of some bozos who are playing games with web servers in a way that can break things.

    BTW, what happens when Google indexes these idiots’ web pages and a Firefox user clicks on a link? It makes it look like Google did a bad job at searching because their User-Agent header might not be set to indicate Firefox. So, I do consider the behavior anti-social – it can impact innocent parties that have nothing to do with Eich.

  22. JJ says

    I have to agree with @VINT. It’s up to implementers to decide what qualifies as a user agent limitation. Contrary to what @BILL claims, RFC 2616 gives no “very specific technical meaning,” and having implemented at least one HTTP server for a commercial product, as well as having served as a technical reviewer for one of O’Reilly’s HTTP references, I’m going to appoint myself qualified to speak on the matter.

    Also, as long as we’re entertaining this ridiculous rules lawyering for the med-challenged among us, it bears pointing out that RFC 2616 is, alas, merely a *Draft* Standard (see IETF STD 1). It hasn’t even been accepted yet as a final Internet Standard.

  23. Jason Young says

    Eich helped invent Javascript (that may be evil in and of itself depending of your opinion of the language). When it comes to internet technology, he is brilliant. Mozilla should have kept him as CTO. He either needs to come out in favor of marriage equality or quit. He is an extremely talented guy who will not want for a job.

    This is one more example of how religion makes good people do bad things.

  24. Håkon says

    Clearly, you’re the one with the limited intellect, Bill. Did you really think people here would side with your pro-bigotry stance? Talk about being unable to read the room…

    “The sort of arrogant behavior OKCupid engaged in can really hurt people.”

    Watch me fix this for you:

    “The sort of arrogant behavior Mozilla / Brendan Eich engaged in can really hurt people.”

  25. alex says

    @Icebloo: Sadly, most people are lazy. They want things to be black and white. People only want facts if they line up with their preconceived opinions. Or, they make decisions based on one factor.

    In this case, Google becomes the good guy, despite the evidence you present. Similarly, they will ignore facts like the following:

    According to the LA Times Prop 8 Donor database, there was one Mozilla employee (Eichs) supporting Prop 8 with a total of $1,000. There were 17 Google employees who donated a total of $10,749 in support of Prop 8.

    I concede that the fact that Eichs is CEO is relevant. Still, if your only criteria for evaluating multi-national organizations is the donation amount on Prop 8, one could argue that switching from Firefox to Chrome is foolish.

  26. Joey Y says

    If you want to continue to use Firefox then you are, by proxy, paying the man’s salary. They make money from advertising via their browser. Just know that your contribution, however small, is being used against you.

  27. jjose712 says

    Welll, companies and general people must learn to avoid the non apology apology.
    If he has his beliefs he has all the right to have them, in fact he went a step further, because he not only not wanted ssm but he donate money to strip people of that right.
    Now he is a CEO of this company, he is a visible name. And people have all the right to be angry at Mozilla.
    If he was donating to the KKK i think people would be less reluctant to all this backlash, but it happens that technology companies use to be quite pro gay, maybe if you are an antigay baker from the mid west you will find more support on your own community, but not being in a tech company.

    He could do the same that Liam Payne did when he make that comments about Duck Dinasty, just shut up and wait people forgot the incident

  28. anon says

    This controversy is no doubt keep going by MS, Google and Apple in an attempt to gain market share over Mozilla. Do they care about gay rights otherwise? No. The core problem with this is that you really don’t know everyone’s opinion so you can’t really make purchasing decisions like this. Does your garbageman support gay rights? How about your dry cleaners? Chef at favorite restaurant? How are you going to find out anyway?

  29. Bill says

    @JJ : If you want the latest (it wasn’t necessary for what we were talking about, try RFC 2616 and you’ll find the wording identical or nearly so, with exactly the same meaning. These are the standards that everyone implementing a web server or browser uses.

    As to the silly idea that implementers get to define what a “user-agent” is, RFC 2616 and the predecessor I gave define the term user-agent as

    user agent
    The client which initiates a request. These are often browsers,
    editors, spiders (web-traversing robots), or other end user tools.

    But then, you’d actually have had to read it to know what is in it, which you would have to do if you had ever implemented software that was dependent on HTTP. It is simply absurd to claim (as someone did) that the term user agent as used in this RFC would refer to some random CEO.

    Since you are claiming to be qualified to “speak on the matter,” being a reviewer for a book publisher does not mean that you actually know much about the field at the level of someone with real industrial or academic experience. It’s not like you’ve given technical talks with people who designed basic Internet protocols (e.g., TCP and IP) in the audience, as I have.

  30. FreedomOfAssociation says

    While I have to date been sympathetic toward the idea of marriage equality, post this, I am afraid I will have to reassess that position; clearly those supporting it have precisely the same agenda as those opposing it- forcing their will on others.

    So OkCupid goes on to the never use list- as does any other business associated with them or Hampton Catlin. And anybody else I can persuade to do the same I will.

  31. Bill says

    @FreedomOfAssociation : hardly anyone supporting marriage equality had anything to do with okcupid’s brain-dead decision, nor are the people commenting in favor of okcupid necessarily representative of those supporting marriage equality or those who would benefit from it.

    Okcupid’s behavior is bad for a number of reasons: misuse of browser supplied information that is supposed to be provided for specific reasons. I’d avoid Okcupid for that reason, not for trying to support marriage equality, which I do support.

    BTW, as an example of how misuse of the user-agent header harms individuals, it seems that some commercial web sites use HTTP headers to figure out what type of computer a user has. If you have one made by Apple, they assume you are less price-sensitive than people who use Windows and will show you higher prices. Then you have the guy working as a disc jockey (with everything actually stored on a computer) who uses a MacIntosh because of the software he needs to make a living, but whose income is not very high and ends up being charged more for products than others.

  32. mk says

    “Now the dating service OkCupid is blocking access to its site by users of Mozilla’s Firefox browser”

    No, fortunately, they aren’t that stupid. Rather, they are educating its users.

  33. Alex says

    If I didn’t have a problem with the LGBT rights agenda, Mozilla, OKcupid, or anyone alright with these actions, I have one now. I won’t be using Firefox anymore and already cancelled OKcupid. If the gay comunity wants their rights respected they will do well to respect others and denounce actions like these and right them if possible.

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