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Mozilla Appoints Chris Beard Interim CEO Following Brendan Eich Flap

Two weeks after the resignation of Brendan Eich following controversy over donations he made to the Proposition 8 campaign in California and other candidates which did not fit the company's corporate culture, Mozilla has appointed Chris Beard to the Mozilla Corporation Board of Directors, and as our interim CEO.

Chris_beardWrote Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman in a blog post, in part:

We began exploring the idea of Chris joining the Board of Directors some months ago. Chris has been a Mozillian longer than most. He’s been actively involved with Mozilla since before we shipped Firefox 1.0, he’s guided and directed many of our innovative projects, and his vision and sense of Mozilla is equal to anyone’s. I have relied on his judgement and advice for nearly a decade. This is an excellent time for Chris to bring his understanding of Mozilla to the Board.

We have also appointed Chris as interim CEO. In this time of transition there is no better person to lead us. Chris has one of the clearest visions of how to take the Mozilla mission and turn it into programs and activities and product ideas that I have ever seen. In the early years at Mozilla he was responsible for leading the Mozilla product, marketing and innovation teams. More recently, Chris was our CMO, leading user, developer and community engagement activities globally, including the initial launches of Firefox on Android and Firefox OS at MWC. Chris is the right person to lead us through this time and he is a strong candidate for CEO.

Mozilla needs to act quickly and decisively.


Andrew Sullivan Brings His Brendan Eich Complaints to Stephen Colbert: VIDEO

Sullivan_colbert

Andrew Sullivan brought his argument that Brendan Eich was brought down by the 'gaystapo' (as like-minded conservatives would dub the imaginary group of gay activists conjured in this tale), to the Colbert Report last night where he was given carte blanche to discuss the episode.

Mozilla_colbertWatch the segments below.

A few notes of response to what Sullivan says since Colbert did not offer much.

Gay activists did not get Eich fired. As our Ari Ezra Waldman explains in his piece earlier this week, gay groups were not in this fight - Eich was brought down because he took actions that made him unfit to lead a unique community like Mozilla:

There was no mainstream gay rights organization calling for his head. No one "bullied" Mr. Eich out of Mozilla's headquarters. To say so is an insult to those of us who have been bullied in real life. And no cabal of intolerant gays proclaimed that disagreement with us merits unemployment. That seems to be a bogeyman conjured up in the prolific brain of Andrew Sullivan.

Eich was not being punished for a belief, as Sullivan says. He resigned after it was revealed he took financial action to specifically harm others (the Prop 8 donation) and made it worse by refusing to discuss his actions. It was not a group of gay activists out to "scalp" him as Sullivan would say, for a belief.

As Markos Moulitsas explained so well last week,

"This was Mozilla developers saying they refused to do work with a bigot, private websites blocking access to the Firefox browser because they refused to do business with a bigot, and employees of the firm speaking up because they refused to work for a bigot. In short, it was the free market expressing itself. Eich was perfectly within his rights to stay at Mozilla, but he would then face a hostile market and eventually faced the reality that he couldn't do his job in that environment. The free market spoke, and a free market enterprise was forced to react."

Sullivan says "where I draw the line is when we start targeting individuals for punishment or calling them heretics, or bigots, or haters without giving them a chance to really explain themselves."

But Sullivan did just that a few weeks ago when MSNBC was considering cutting Alec Baldwin for using an anti-gay slur. Michelangelo Signorile noted:

"...this is the same Andrew Sullivan who was first out of the gate with the pitchfork, driving Alec Baldwin off of MSNBC -- as Baldwin bombastically charged that he was the victim of Sullivan and his "fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy." ...

"But if you're going to get worked up over a guy hurling the word "c--ksucker" in the heat of the moment -- while he also gave money and support to the causes of LGBT rights and marriage equality -- you should be completely outraged by a man unapologetically giving money to a hate campaign that helped pass Prop 8 by demonizing gay men and lesbians in television ads charging that gays are dangerous to children. The damage done by those ads is incalculable, turning neighbors in California against one another, empowering anti-gay bullies in schools as well as the bashers on the streets."

Sullivan also brings up the talking point about Obama having the same views as Eich. Jeremy Hooper refuted that point well earlier in the discussion about Eich, writing:

...look, President Obama was certainly wrong on marriage, something he himself now realizes...But the fact of the matter is that the Democratic candidates (and most Dems in general) opposed the abject and unconstitutional nastiness that was and is Proposition 8 because, even when they had yet to come to their current places of support, they knew that altering governing documents for the sole purpose of limiting rights was a bad idea. Mr. Eich apparently felt otherwise.

Watch the segments below:

And here's Sullivan arguing the complete opposite in a discussion with Anderson Cooper about why Alec Baldwin should lose his job because of his anti-gay slurs:


The Fall of Brendan Eich Happened Without Us

By ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Brendan-eich-mozilla-firefox-squareBrendan Eich is no longer the CEO of Mozilla. His tenure was short. But if you believe the media swarm surrounding his quick departure, you would think he left in a blaze of burned bridges and violent protests. I must have missed all that. Mr. Eich was asked to step down because the members of his board of directors made the decision that he could no longer govern their company. That's how boards are supposed to work.

There was no mainstream gay rights organization calling for his head. No one "bullied" Mr. Eich out of Mozilla's headquarters. To say so is an insult to those of us who have been bullied in real life. And no cabal of intolerant gays proclaimed that disagreement with us merits unemployment. That seems to be a bogeyman conjured up in the prolific brain of Andrew Sullivan.

Although this was a legitimate board decision, Mr. Eich did do two things wrong: He took actions that were specifically intended to harm others and he made it worse by refusing to discuss those actions. Those who turned to demonize a straw man of intolerant "gay activists" miss these two facts.

Their argument is essentially about tolerance for evolving opinions and it goes as follows: We cannot punish people for simply disagreeing with us. If we do, we become no better than intolerant conservatives who hate us simply because of who we love. It would have been better to teach Mr. Eich, to sit down with him like mature adults and make our case, thereby showing him that he, like millions of other people, were wrong about us.

Let me say that I agree. I am a proponent of guiding our former opponents on a path toward acceptance with calm, cool rhetoric and a mature approach. I wrote about it here, with respect to Senator Rob Portman's evolution on gay marriage. But it is not clear to me how we can discuss something with someone who refuses to come to the table. Plus, this is not a matter of having differing opinions. Mr. Eich made a jump from having an opinion to taking actions to hurt another group of people. To assert the equivalence of belief and action is not only plain wrong, it is inconsistent with how free speech norms have developed in this country.

This story, then, boils down to three simple facts:

1. Mozilla's Board of Directors did exactly what boards are supposed to do;

2. Mr. Eich took actions that made him unfit to lead a unique community like Mozilla; and

3. Actions have consequences.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "The Fall of Brendan Eich Happened Without Us" »


Bill Maher on Mozillagate: 'There is a Gay Mafia...If You Cross Them, You Do Get Whacked' — VIDEO

Maher

Bill Maher touched on the resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich last night on the "Overtime" portion of Real Time with Bill Maher. It's unclear how long the discussion went on about it but in a brief segment that appeared online a couple of Maher's guests, former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) weighed in, as well as Forbes magazine's Carrie Sheffield, who used one of the nonsensical responses being used by some in the right-wing - that Obama was still against gay marriage when Eich made his donation.

Maher nods his head, adding: "Good point. Also, I think there is a gay mafia. I think if you cross them, you do get whacked."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

As far as the Obama point goes, Jeremy Hooper refuted that talking point the other day:

...look, President Obama was certainly wrong on marriage, something he himself now realizes...But the fact of the matter is that the Democratic candidates (and most Dems in general) opposed the abject and unconstituional nastiness that was and is Proposition 8 because, even when they had yet to come to their current places of support, they knew that altering governing documents for the sole purpose of limiting rights was a bad idea. Mr. Eich apparently felt otherwise.

By all means, defend Mr. Eich's actions and criticize his treatment. But stop lying about who was supposedly his compatriot in the Prop 8 battle. Barack Obama—who also opposed DOMA, backed ENDA and hate crimes legislation, and vowed to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell—was not on his team.

In other news, Brendan Eich's Twitter account has gone dark:

“Sorry, that page doesn't exist!” is all that remains of where Eich once connected with his more than 31,000 followers.

Eich's final tweet was a March 26 link to a blog post in which he discussed his commitment to diversity. “Inclusiveness at Mozila [sic],” he messaged.

Continue reading "Bill Maher on Mozillagate: 'There is a Gay Mafia...If You Cross Them, You Do Get Whacked' — VIDEO" »


Was Brendan Eich 'Scalped by Gay Activists' or Done in By His Willful Donation to a Hate Campaign?

Firefox_eich

As you may have heard, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned yesterday following a week of outrage over revelations he donated to California's hate campaign, Proposition 8, as well as to a number of other controversial right-wing figures.

The episode is inspiring some striking differences in opinion.

SullivanAndrew Sullivan took a strong position in support of Eich last night, accusing gay activists of "hounding a heretic:"

The guy who had the gall to express his First Amendment rights and favor Prop 8 in California by donating $1,000 has just been scalped by some gay activists...Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

Right-wingers like Bryan Fischer, Linda Harvey, and Tammy Bruce agree with Sullivan.

SignorileMichelangelo Signorile responds in the HuffPost:

According to Sullivan, the gay mafia has struck again, destroying a man and bringing him down because he would not conform to its thinking. You would be justified in being massively confused by that because this is the same Andrew Sullivan who was first out of the gate with the pitchfork, driving Alec Baldwin off of MSNBC -- as Baldwin bombastically charged that he was the victim of Sullivan and his "fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy."
 ...

But if you're going to get worked up over a guy hurling the word "c--ksucker" in the heat of the moment -- while he also gave money and support to the causes of LGBT rights and marriage equality -- you should be completely outraged by a man unapologetically giving money to a hate campaign that helped pass Prop 8 by demonizing gay men and lesbians in television ads charging that gays are dangerous to children. The damage done by those ads is incalculable, turning neighbors in California against one another, empowering anti-gay bullies in schools as well as the bashers on the streets.

Signorile correctly notes that it wasn't until news came out that Eich had also donated to Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul that he resigned - until then it seemed clear Eich was staying on.

Suddenly, in addition to defending a CEO who gave money to homophobic efforts, Mozilla would have to defend a CEO who supported Buchanan, a far right extremist and isolationist who's been accused of racist and anti-Semitic attacks, and who also was, rightly, driven off MSNBC -- though that took years longer to accomplish than the few weeks it took to purge Alec Baldwin.


Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Also Contributed To Anti-Gay GOP Candidates

Brenden_eichThe Guardian has just revealed that in addition to donating $1,000 to help ban gay marriage in California, new Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich also contributed $1000 during the early 1990s to anti-gay right-wing Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan and $2000 in the late 90s to Texas state Republican congressman Ron Paul, a man who preferred to leave gay marriage up to individual states.

The Guardian notes:

During the AIDS outbreak of 1990, Buchanan said “our promiscuous homosexuals appear literally hell-bent on Satanism and suicide”. A few years earlie he said “homosexuals have declared war on nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution”.

In a 2010 article on [gay marriage], Buchanan remarked that "all the great religions have condemned homosexuality and all the great nations have proscribed or punished it" and concluded: "Historically, from the late Roman Empire to Weimar, flagrant homosexuality has been associated with sick societies, decadent cultures and dying civilizations.”

Ever since news of Eich’s anti-gay California contribution has become public, there have been calls for a Mozilla boycott from both pro and anti-gay groups, calls for Eich to step down from Mozilla employees, several resignations of Mozilla board members, even as Eich continues to sidestep questions on his current stance towards same-sex marriage.


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