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'Mother Jones' Writer: OkCupid CEO Donated to Anti-Gay Candidate

Mother Jones reports that the CEO of OkCupid, which blocked Mozilla's browser Firefox in a highly-publicized move over Brendan Eich's donation to California's Prop 8 campaign, once donated to an anti-gay candidate:

YaganOkCupid's co-founder and CEO Sam Yagan once donated to an anti-gay candidate. (Yagan is also CEO of Specifically, Yagan donated $500 to Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) in 2004, reports Uncrunched. During his time as congressman from 1997 to 2009, Cannon voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, against a ban on sexual-orientation based job discrimination, and for prohibition of gay adoptions.

He's also voted for numerous anti-choice measures, earning a 0 percent rating from NARAL Pro Choice America. Among other measures, Cannon voted for laws prohibiting government from denying funds to medical facilities that withhold abortion information, stopping minors from crossing state lines to obtain an abortion, and banning family planning funding in US aid abroad. Cannon also earned a 7 percent rating from the ACLU for his poor civil rights voting record: He voted to amend FISA to allow warrant-less electronic surveillance, to allow NSA intelligence gathering without civil oversight, and to reauthorize the PATRIOT act.

Of course, it's been a decade since Yagan's donation to Cannon, and a decade or more since many of Cannon's votes on gay rights. It's possible that Cannon's opinions have shifted, or maybe his votes were more politics than ideology; a tactic by the Mormon Rep. to satisfy his Utah constituency.

Buzzfeed reporter Chris Geidner feels the article's premise is deceitful:

"That story about the OKCupid CEO has a misleading headline and premise and is organized almost like the intent is to deceive folks."

Adds Geidner: "They didn't do the same thing. Donating to a candidate involves many variables; an issue campaign is, by definition, that issue."

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  1. maybe the rule of thumb is that most corps are run by conservative republicans...who in the past supported republican and conservative causes and candidates

    Posted by: Homo Genius | Apr 8, 2014 11:29:46 AM

  2. This officially becoming a witch hunt.

    Are we going to setup surveillance and check the purchase records at Chick-Fil-A for all our friends and allies? Are we going to damn anyone who continues to live in a Red State for any reason? Is public exposure the risk of anyone who does not toe the narrow lines of political support we define?

    What happened to the days when we accepted any amount of support we could get! Take the good with the bad and work on the bad over the long term. If we expect our allies to be perfect in every way, we aren't going to have any.

    Posted by: HadrianM | Apr 8, 2014 11:32:43 AM

  3. OMG make it stop. Is this really how we want to progress as an LGBT community, shaming every single person on earth just because they made eye contact with someone who may have gone to the Iowa Republican Caucuses sixty years ago?

    Posted by: bernard | Apr 8, 2014 11:33:53 AM

  4. @HADRIANM - yes, we are going to look closely at those who willingly and unwittingly set out to hurt the gay community. There's a reason for that: for decades we have endured discrimination, physical abuse, even murder without justice. Today we simply aren't going to tolerate it. You are responsible for your own actions and you can't brush them off as minor. The gay community has power and we're going to use it to our advantage.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Apr 8, 2014 11:36:41 AM

  5. Please note, this is coming from Mother Jones, not any LGBT rights organization.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 8, 2014 11:37:30 AM

  6. this is just a witch hunt. 2004 was tens ago and it's not like the guy ran on an "anti-gay" platform -- because if he had, this website would have covered him like white on rich and never let it die

    Posted by: Jason | Apr 8, 2014 11:41:25 AM

  7. @HADRIANM, 1) exposing potential hypocrisy isn't a witch hunt, and 2) "We" didn't do this. A journalist for Mother Jones did, because it's her job.

    Posted by: JJ | Apr 8, 2014 11:43:13 AM

  8. Donating to an individual is very different than donating to Prop 8 proponents who actively lied and incited hatred against the LGBT community in order to deny them rights.

    Posted by: bkmn | Apr 8, 2014 11:43:37 AM

  9. The article of Mother Jones is garbage and don't say the truth: the CEO of OkCupid is Christian Rudder, Sam Yagan is only one of the 4 co-founders.

    Posted by: Fernando | Apr 8, 2014 11:43:57 AM

  10. Very witch-hunty. As if any donations of any amount to any candidate or cause are equal. A donation to a little know Utah Congressman is not the same as a donation to help Pat Buchanan become the most powerful person in the world.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Apr 8, 2014 11:49:45 AM

  11. I live in a state where I can lose my job just for being gay so while I do believe this is a bit of an overreaction, I am amused at watching people having to own their (arguably) past bigotry.

    Posted by: Dennis | Apr 8, 2014 11:57:57 AM

  12. Witches aren't real. In the 17th century, the women who were persecuted had in fact done no harm to anyone.

    Homophobia is real. It causes homelessness, when parents turn their gay kids out into the streets. It causes depression and suicide, when gay people internalize societal homophobia and come to believe that they are somehow worth less. It causes gaybashing and murder -- we even see parents abusing and murdering their own children because they suspect they are gay.

    I tolerate homophobes the same way I tolerate white supremacists: you have a right to think whatever you please, and I will always fight for your right to speak out in public. But I will also fight tooth and nail for your opinion to be marginalized, to be seen for the evil that it is, and for you to suffer the social and financial consequences of your wicked and harmful beliefs.

    [That said, this piece is clearly about Eich trying to get a little revenge on Yagan. It's not going to work.]

    Posted by: BABH | Apr 8, 2014 11:58:04 AM

  13. He should apologize that's all

    Posted by: litper | Apr 8, 2014 12:13:21 PM

  14. I know Sam Yagan and have known him since he and his wife were students in the school I used to work at in the early 1990s. From my own past and present interactions with Sam, I've seen no evidence that Sam is homophobic. I don't know if he knew that his donation to Cannon was supporting someone with negative views of homosexuality, so I can't speak to that part of the reporting. It's frustrating to see someone I know being characterized as something he isn't.

    Posted by: Stephen | Apr 8, 2014 12:39:18 PM

  15. Most businesspeople give to politicians of both parties as a matter of course just to keep everybody happy. This donation was tiny and long ago, and the congressman in question was just a run of the mill Republican foot soldier, not some anti gay wing nut like Michele Bachman. I'm fairly certain that every CEO has made donations to some Republican candidates in the past, so we'll have to boycott everything everywhere if we want to continue this ridiculous witch hunt. If we're not going to do that we should stop these inane "investigations" which just make us look petty and ridiculous, and risk turning our supporters against us.

    Posted by: Brian1 | Apr 8, 2014 12:43:26 PM

  16. A very small donation made to a political candidate a decade ago? With all the other important issues happening in the world right now, this is what we are worried about? This is one of the reasons why I don't read Mother Jones. Let's focus on what really matters, please!

    Posted by: Adam | Apr 8, 2014 12:51:34 PM

  17. Burn the witch. Joke. Actually, how is the lgbt community going to handle people who have evolved on this subject? Using the Eich standard I would have to excommunicate my parents who, finally, came to their senses.

    Posted by: Mastik8 | Apr 8, 2014 12:55:48 PM

  18. Why should Brendan Eich be treated differently from this guy? Eich apologized and pledged to treat everybody equally and with dignity at his company REGARDLESS OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

    It'll be interesting to see if the new gay Inquisition continues to demonized Brendan Eich while giving this guy a pass.

    Our community is devolving into a thuggish band of bashers. We are becoming the new oppressors. Not all of us by any means, just a small vocal minority that is hijacking all the goodwill we've built up during the past 10 years.

    Posted by: will | Apr 8, 2014 12:56:48 PM

  19. Since we all cheered when Michelangelo Signorile (rightfully) called out Andrew Sullivan for hypocrisy, are we now going to call out Sam Yagan for his? And... no, we're not, at least not if the comments on this article are any indication. We're defending him, because it was a long time ago, people evolve, blah blah blah. One commenter went so far as to say that this is OBVIOUSLY a transparent attempt by Eich himself to discredit Yagan, because clearly, Brendan Eich controls... Mother Jones... buh?

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think Yagan should have to apologize for donating to any candidate for any reason. But I don't think Eich should, either.

    Posted by: Zell | Apr 8, 2014 1:10:22 PM

  20. The Log Cabinites here are atill so butthurt over the Eich issue. Ask them if they would support a CEO who donated to a KKK initiative to roll back interracial marriage. That shuts them up real fast.

    Posted by: Sergio | Apr 8, 2014 1:23:28 PM

  21. Stephen, you worked at IMSA? Class of '94 here.

    Posted by: ryan | Apr 8, 2014 1:32:23 PM

  22. Does anyone here think OKCupid might have been using the controversy to get free publicity?? I dunno, but it was a smart move in that direction.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 8, 2014 1:33:26 PM

  23. Zell: I work in politics. 99% of the time when a journalist writes a hit piece, it's because someone suggested that they write a hit piece. OKCupid was literally *the only* organization other than Mozilla itself that took any action against Eich. My antennae tell me that the idea for the Mother Jones piece came from the Eich camp.

    Exactly zero gay rights organizations encouraged Mozilla to fire Eich. In fact, groups reached out to work *with* Eich to help rehabilitate him in the eyes of his Mozilla's customers and employees. There was no witchhunt, because there were no witchhunters. There was just an internal business decision. What should we have done, as a community? Issue a statement saying that donating to hate groups like the Prop 8 campaign is perfectly morally acceptable?

    And again: I predict Yagan's going to be just fine, as he should be.

    Posted by: BABH | Apr 8, 2014 1:45:00 PM

  24. this rooting out of donations by people is a very dumb strategy that will backfire on us. just like the duck dynasty brouhaha did.

    but it's not in their nature for pc leftists to choose their battles wisely

    Posted by: jaker | Apr 8, 2014 1:49:45 PM

  25. It's not the same premise at all. In 2004 if you donated to a republican candidate (or even a lot of democrats) the odds are that he or she had a very bad record on gay rights.

    Mozilla CEO donated money to strip gays living in California of their right to marry

    Posted by: jjose712 | Apr 8, 2014 1:57:43 PM

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