Friday, April 04, 2014


It's hard to believe what's happened at Mozilla, the place that puts out the Firefox web browser.  CEO Brendan Eich, who took over in March, has had to step down due to his views on gay marriage.

In 2008 he made a donation supporting California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. (It passed, by the way.)  Some groups were outraged at Eich being CEO and threatened a boycott.  Last week he asked for tolerance and wrote he was "committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status or religion."

You might think that would be enough.  Then again, you might figure the personal politics of a CEO, well within the mainstream (Senator Barack Obama was against gay marriage in 2008, and continued to be years into his presidency) wouldn't matter to people using a browser. But you'd be wrong.  Apology not accepted.  Mozilla responded, and the statements they made are astounding.

From Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker (her first name is Winifred):

We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: It's because we haven't stayed true to ourselves.  We have employees with a wide diversity of views. 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.

Apparently, diversity means anything but, and that openness is only open to people who think the right thoughts.  Baker wasn't done:

While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the Web — so all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.

She could teach Orwell a thing or two.

Here's the response from Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLADD:

Mozilla's strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where Corporate America is: inclusive, safe and welcoming to all.

Inclusive, safe and welcoming to all.  Does she even listen to what she's saying?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seemed to be a purely profit-motivated capitalist business decision. People that hold views which the customer base find repugnant will not last long in a service industry. Being against gay marriage has basically become equivalent with Holocaust denial, supporting Al Qaeda, claiming Jews control the media or that women or ethnic groups have certain characteristics etc...

3:03 AM, April 04, 2014  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Anon -- Yes, for many people these have been equivalent. Yet isn't that amazing? Holocaust denial and support for al-Qaeda are present in less than 1% of the population. Opposition to gay marriage has been the position of every elected president in U.S. history at the time of their election, including our current president.

Andrew Sullivan has an excellent response.

5:41 PM, April 04, 2014  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

The asymmetric thing is this: I know many people who oppose gay marriage, but I haven't met anyone who claims that an American who supports gay marriage should be shunned and avoided.

The Specials sang, "If you have a racist friend, now is the time for your friendship to end." Do we really think this is how debate should work in our society? None of my friends agree with me on every single issue. Should I shun them all?

5:46 PM, April 04, 2014  

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