Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Won’t Discuss Personal Views on Gay Marriage, Says OkCupid Might End Boycott

In his first interview since controversy erupted last week over his donation to California's anti-gay Proposition 8 campaign, CEO Brendan Eich won't say what his beliefs are about marriage equality and does not reject the possibility that he might donate to Prop 8 again if it were on the ballot today.

Via CNET: Eich

If you had the opportunity to donate to a Proposition 8 cause today, would you do so?

Eich: I hadn't thought about that. It seems that's a dead issue. I don't want to answer hypotheticals. Separating personal beliefs here is the real key here. The threat we're facing isn't to me or my reputation, it's to Mozilla.

You haven't really explicitly laid it out, so I'll just ask you: how do you feel gay-marriage rights? How did you feel about it in 2008, and how do you feel about it today?

Eich: I prefer not to talk about my beliefs. One of the things about my principles of inclusiveness is not just that you leave it at the door, but that you don't require others to put targets on themselves by labeling their beliefs, because that will present problems and will be seen as divisive.

Eich also says that OkCupid might cave on its boycott of the Firefox browser:

What's your response to OKCupid, which recommended Firefox OS users switch browsers?

Eich: We didn't hear about it until it was up. We're talking now, because it may be they'll take it down. They didn't seem to be aware of the statement that Mitchell Baker made over the weekend. As an organization, Mitchell said, Mozilla supports LGBT equality. I don't think they heard about that. There's a good chance that'll come down. I can't promise you. We're talking to them now.

The other was developers Rarebit, two husbands [married to each other] who take your actions very personally and withdrew their app from the Firefox marketplace.

Eich: I met with one of them. It was actually a good meeting. I'm not not going to speak for him. What started a week and a day ago has changed. It's not for him the same as it was. For everyone involved in this a week ago, if they start to see things go big in a way that could mean the end of Mozilla, the loss of the principles of inclusiveness, a world without Firefox, they have concerns that transcend the concern about me. I had a good meeting over this weekend.

Head over to CNET for the full interview.

Comments

  1. says

    He’s actually quite arrogant. He outrightly says that the choice is a world without Mozilla or giving up the boycott. The excluded choice is he can step down. Or does his vanity tell him that stepping down will also means a world with Mozilla. If Mozilla is in a place where it has to rely on Eich alone, then it should go under.

  2. Håkon says

    What is this guy’s damage? Does he not understand that he actually went out of his way to hurt gays and lesbians? He acts as if this well-deserved outrage is an incomprehensible inconvenience.

  3. Martin says

    I will now do everything legally possible and within my power to undermine Mozilla. Eich IS Mozilla and Mozilla is Eich, that is the one concept that Eich has enunciated clearly.

  4. Mike says

    It’s not a boycott, and Firefox users aren’t blocked from accessing the site. Firefox users are shown a message, and can click through to access the site.

    Let’s end the sloppy reporting.

  5. Sergio says

    We lost against the Chick-Fil-A bigots – one of 21st century America’s most hateful moments – and, just now, against Mississippi. We must win this battle. The fight is radicalizing, and like Arizona, Mozilla / Firefox will see reason.

  6. Firedfox says

    I have to say it felt good to walk by the Mozilla offices today, middle finger outstretched.

  7. David says

    “I prefer not to talk about my beliefs.”
    I think his actions speak for themselves.

  8. Craig says

    I stopped using Firefox more than a year ago. It just takes too damn long to launch compared to Chrome. But I was pretty loyal for many years. Won’t use it at all now, at least I know Google is very pro-equality.

  9. Martin says

    Mozilla is supposed to be an American company, but they want to drag down their ideals of equality to the level of Indonesia according to Eich. What a putrid man.

  10. Homo Genius says

    Ok… I really really don’t get why he is now a cause celebre. There are many other ceo’s who have done more and worse.

    He donated some money. Mozilla didn’t. Mozilla is FREE so there is nothing to boycott.

    I can understand how employees at the company might not want him at the helm but that seems more of an internal issue.

    This just seems like a waste of everyone’s energy. He’ll just get another CEO position or board seat elsewhere and likely a hefty golden parachute if he has to step down. There is no way to “hurt” this guy.

  11. Jay says

    Genius Mozilla isn’t “free”. It maybe a nonprofit, but they still implement monetization scheme with Google and the like where they turn you into the product, a tangible good that other companies can exploit. Google chrome does the same but to a far greater scale.

  12. matziabb says

    ‘There is no way to “hurt” this guy.’ Who cares about hurting? We just express our opinion whether he’s hurting or not who effing cares?

  13. Zell says

    The guy is loathsome and arrogant, but I’m uncomfortable with the way the gay community–actually not just the gay community–is trying to change people’s beliefs by force recently. Phil Robertson says something homophobic–cancel his show! Stephen Colbert says something that Suey Park doesn’t like? Cancel Colbert! Seinfeld makes a comment that a virtually unknown african american comedienne doesn’t like? Racist! Boycott! Alec Baldwin, Barilla, Mozilla, even Chick-Fil-A… I may disagree with what they’re saying but I also think we can fall into a pit trap of simply trying to crush anyone who holds a different worldview than I do. It makes us look bad and it doesn’t change anyone’s mind about gay rights. Let’s not try to impose our views on other people by force, let’s actually get them to see the error of their ways.

  14. David D says

    Mozilla, as a company, has made it clear that they recognize and support marriage equality. See Mitchell Baker’s (Chairwoman of Mozilla) blog for proof. Eich has said that he will support equality as part of being CEO of Mozilla.

    I say we let this one go. There’s no reason to boycott a company because the new CEO took a position 6 years ago counter to what the company supports today. Firefox is a fine browser and it’s the only major browser out there that isn’t owned by a major corporation. It gets compensated by Google, but that’s not the same as being owned by.

    I understand why Eich doesn’t want to take a public position on the issue at the moment – both sides are itching to call a boycott so he loses no matter what he does. He’s not going to deviate from the script that Mozilla’s PR people have given him.

  15. TampaZeke says

    ZELL, surely we don’t have to explain the difference between “different world view” and “actively supporting and promoting the LEGAL denial of civil rights to a minority population”. Please tell me that you understand the massive difference.

  16. oncemorewithfeeling says

    So he’s saying he’d rather destroy Mozilla than step down?

    What a winner they picked for themselves.

    If Mozilla would hire and then insist on keeping someone who has actively worked to destroy American families as their CEO, then they deserve to fail and we’re well rid of them.

  17. oncemorewithfeeling says

    And what’s this weird Internet lie I keep seeing about how we “lost” against Chick-fil-A?

    They have ceased ALL their donations to anti-gay organizations and their lunatic with the big mouth has sworn he won’t ever verbally bash the gays again, either.

    That’s a complete and total win.

  18. oncemorewithfeeling says

    And because we’re not targeting every monstrous CEO in the world, that means we can’t target any?

    I hope that was a troll post. Because that’s just about as stupid as it gets.

  19. jeff says

    A boycott is not trying to change someones beliefs. It is punishing someone for hurting others. I choose not to use Mozilla because Eich is in charge there and hates gay people. Sorry Mozilla, you guys should fire him.

  20. Håkon says

    We definitely lost Chick-Fil-A. It was terrifying to see thousands (proto-lynch mobs) line up for hours to purchase deep-fried hate. We’ll only win when either Chick-Fil-A goes out of business or is bought by a normal company.

    This Mozilla boycott, on the other hand, is having a strong effect. Let’s keep at it, fellas!

  21. Kevin K. says

    I have to agree that Chick-Fil-A was a crushing blow. I actually felt scared seeing all those people gather just to inflict pain on our community.

    I’ve been heartened to see the response with Mozilla, though. I hate humanity a little less with each ounce of pressure put on this Eich creep.

  22. Francis says

    Mozilla=Tech community. Tend to be progressive. High concentration of sexual and gender minorities.

    Chick-fil-A=Fast Food restaurant. Most locales in the South. Owned by a Southern religious conservative.

    No surprise to see different reactions to Firefox/Mozilla compared to Chick-fil-A.

    As for Eich, he seems quite full of himself.

  23. Francis says

    And yes, we way on on Chick-fil-A. HUGE win. Dan Cathy pledged to keep quiet on LGBT issues because we stayed on his case and he had LGBT people talk with him personally about the offensiveness of his previous actions. When we apply pressure, and make our voices heard, loud and clear, we win. This has been proven time and time again.

  24. Sergio says

    When I see all the people eating at Chick-Fil-A out where I live, I definitely don’t feel like we won that battle. They also seem to be besting KFC in sales lately. I guess even the naïve deserve to have a little hope, though.

  25. Bill says

    @Mike : harassing Firefox users is not acceptable, so IMHO OkCupid is the organization that should be boycotted. It is an issue of trust. The RFCs clearly indicate that user-agent information (e.g., which browser you are using) is transferred for specific purposes, and by using that information for other purposes when it is not voluntarily provided is abusive. Those purposes include bug reporting, that is best handled by discussions between professionals running the servers and software developers responsible for browsers and other user agents.

    Sleazy companies have misused this information to discriminate against people who own Apple products under the theory that they are less price sensitive. So, when a naive user is shown a price, the user assumes the price is the same one everyone else is seeing. In fact, at some sites it is higher when they detect an Apple product. Its tricking people in a financial transaction and hence unethical.

    OkCupid’s behavior, if widespread, might also result in a situation where search engines will have to index web pages multiple times to cover all user-agent possibilities in case those web pages turn out differently for each one. The extra effort (which translate into longer times between re-indexing sites and higher costs, primarily due to bandwidth and disk space) raises costs for everyone.

    Some of those companies (Google for one) are very LGBT supportive. This isn’t speculation – I live a few miles from Google’s headquarters and know some gay employees, including ones in managerial positions. Let’s just say that any homophobe would be very uncomfortable working there.

  26. Merv says

    I hadn’t heard about the practice of charging a higher price for Apple users. It’s not a bad idea. I don’t have a problem with soaking the rich a little bit.

    As for Mozilla, I take no position on whether they should fire Eich, but I have no problem with them hearing criticism from their userbase and employees. We should never let bigots like Eich off the hook. I don’t see it being any different than criticism of the Florida Citrus Commission and Anita Bryant.

  27. Chris says

    As a Tor user, it really saddens me to think of losing Firefox bundles; but… we didn’t pick this fight, he did.

  28. Chris says

    As a Tor user, it really saddens me to think of losing Firefox bundles; but… we didn’t pick this fight, he did.

  29. Matt N says

    If Eich said, “I don’t think women should have the same rights as men”, do you think people would even consider accepting his BS excuse of “my beliefs aren’t relevant”??

    Give me a break. We need to keep calling out this homophobe for who he is. If Mozilla suffers greatly enough, they will force him to step down.

  30. Jimbo says

    No doubt this guy has that personality type like that d*uche in the Cadillac commercial!

  31. Bob says

    He went to a Jesuit college it is refusing to contradict the Catholic Church’s position on Prop eight

  32. Chadd says

    A world without Mozilla / Firefox? BFD. There are a dozen other companies that do exactly the same thing they do. Mozilla itself may be pro equality, but their CEO is not. Some of the money that I spend with Mozilla goes to pay a very large salary to a bigot who will use some of that money against me, although I suspect he will be more clever about hiding it from now on.

  33. Tigernan says

    Twenty years ago we all said that the very second we started to get some equality we were in trouble – because we are a LAZY community. And now that has been proven yet again. “Meh, let it go,” is exactly what radical queer groups fought for, right?

  34. jjose712 says

    Håkon: Sorry but that’s not true.
    Chick-Fil-A is a south chain of cheap food. They have practically nothing to lose offending gays, but they stop their donations to antigay groups, and Dan Cathy stopped open his big mouth.
    PR consider him a nightmare, so if his words didn’t make any damage i don’t undertand why he stop talking.

    Chick-Fil-A apreciation day was a success, but i doubt they cash that much after that. If the controversy didn’t affect them i am sure we know how big benefits they have after all.

    And their case was quite exceptional, because in their niche gay people weren’t that important. That’s not the case of Barilla, or in this case Mozilla.
    Mozilla put themselves in a situation of disadvantage.

    And nobody is punishing for his beliefs, he donate money to strip people from their rights. He was way beyond expressing his beliefs

  35. MARCUS BACHMANN says

    “Separating personal beliefs here is the real key here.” LOL, what a tool.

  36. says

    It’s not like Mozilla is the only game in town! We have choices! The world is shifting it’s beliefs. And a line is being drawn. Those with a conscious – and those without. Companies need to do different kinds of backgrounds checks going forward. What is this potential employee really all about? and do his beliefs fit in with our companies beliefs??

  37. JackFknTwist says

    Donating money to deprive gays of equality,even if it is your belief, is beyond constitutional and democratic principles.

    A bigoted belief remains just that, no matter you dress it up.
    The Courts’ decisions have shown just how undemocratic such so called “beliefs” are.

  38. says

    I’m loving the Dolphin browser on my tablet and phone, but do wish I could replace the functionality of Firefox on my PC. Google could just about do it with Chrome if they’d only listen to their users. LOTS of folks have asked for a viable replacement for Live Bookmarks… alas the requests have fallen on deaf ears, it seems.

  39. Matthew says

    Technology moves you forward. I will not waste my time with a technology company that is led by a man that is moving backward. Switch to Google Chrome today.

    He’s too smug. Apologize, donate to LGBT causes to cancel out the damage you caused and we’ll talk.

  40. DC Insider says

    For those lamenting the gay community being so hard and so vocal on our critics, you are missing the point. We are not here to be liked. We don;t want your “tolerance” or even your respect. We simply demand that when you espouse your hatred publicly, from the pulpit or from the boardroom, we will blast the living crap out of you and make your life miserable.

    We are not doing this to change the bigot’s mind. We are doing it to isolate the bigot. We are doing it to make such bigotry socially unacceptable. The purpose cannot be to persuade in these cases. The purpose is to bring such a hurting on the bigot where they live, usually their pocketbook, that they are forced back into the bigot closet.

  41. JackFknTwist says

    @ DC INSIDER :

    Best post. I completely agree.
    “WE are not here to be liked………etc”

  42. Sergio says

    I think you misunderstood Hakon’s post, JJose. He’s suggesting that the Chick-Fil-A boycott as not an unmitigated success for us, and that’s pretty evident when their sales are currently soaring. They may have started in the South, but they’ve gone more or less national in the past 15 years. They are also heavily concentrated in urban areas, so they are really no different than McDonald’s or Burger King in that regard. At the very least, we should be supporting KFC as a counterweight to these creeps. Over time, we may eventually knock them off their pedestal.

  43. Lucas says

    This interview was completely insulting to LGBT community. Does Mozilla not have a PR team? awful!

  44. Meetrod says

    What an arrogant ignorant man he is (As is Mozilla)….quoting Indonesians supporting him as basis to be anti gay? There’s many muslim practices that still stone women today for showing too much skin, does he want to align with that belief as well because some of his firefox users believe that too?

    Inclusion for these Christians means “we get to do WHATEVER we want to you gays and you MUST accept it”

  45. Denver Dude says

    He didn’t have a difference of opinion, he FUNDED legislation that actively made LGBT be treated as second class citizens. We need to stop apologizing for being gay and stop apologizing for wanting to be treated as equals. If it walks and talks like a bigot, it’s a bigot and deserves to be called out as such.

  46. alex says

    @craig “Won’t use it at all now, at least I know Google is very pro-equality.”

    Total donations in support of Prop 8:
    – Mozilla: 1 person, $1,000 total
    – Google: 17 people: $10,749 total

    Source: LA Times Prop 8 Donor database (projects.latimes.com/prop8/)

  47. Joe says

    Odd mishmash of comments regarding a product and company that are fundamentally unchanged pre-Eich and post-Eich. “Pro-equality” necessarily requires Eich be afforded the same free speech rights as the LGBT crowd. Frankly, hurling the “bigot” grenade makes the grenade-thrower look like a bigot himself. If you don’t like the guy, don’t use the product. It’s the American way. Also, 7 million+ citizens of CA voted in favor of Prop 8, so pointing fingers at the Chick-Fil-A crowd is absurd.