Society

New Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Cedes to Gay Marriage Controversy and Steps Down

| by Allison Geller

Brendan Eich resigned as CEO of Mozilla amid controversy about his support for California’s Proposition 8 against gay marriage.

OKCupid got its wish. The dating website helped stir up sentiment against Eich by creating a landing page for users accessing its site via Mozilla Firefox, in which it urged users to use a different browser instead of supporting Mozilla and Eich.

"Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure,” it wrote.

Mozilla announced on a blog post Thursday that Eich would be resigning from his position as head of the company just 10 days after he began, acknowledging that it hadn’t been quick enough to address the burgeoning controversy.

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“We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better,” the internet browser company said.

Eich was slammed by critics for a $1,000 donation he made to support the passing of Prop 8 in California, which would have made gay marriage illegal if it had not been later struck down in court.

“We have employees with a wide diversity of views,” Mozilla added in its post about Eich’s resignation. “Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community.”

Mozilla has not stated who would be replacing Eich. Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker said in an interview that she was not surprised that he chose to step down, despite the fact that he told the Guardian in an interview that he would not let his personal beliefs affect his ability to lead.

“It’s clear that Brendan cannot lead Mozilla in this setting,” said Baker. “The ability to lead — particularly for the CEO — is fundamental to the role and that is not possible here.”

Sources: recode, Mozilla, Guardian