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Mozilla CEO Resigns After Gay Marriage Backlash

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Resigns After Gay Marriage Backlash

    Mozilla's newly-appointed CEO Brendan Eich has stepped down following calls for him to resign over his support for California's anti-gay marriage bill Prop. 8.

    Mitchell Baker, Mozilla's board chairman, announced Eich's resignation in a blog post on Thursday.

    "Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community," Baker said.

    Eich -- who created the JavaScript programming language -- came under fire for a $1,000 donation he made in 2008 to support Prop. 8.

    Eich's donation came under intense scrutiny over the last two weeks, and a number of people -- including Mozilla employees -- took to Twitter to criticize him. The dating site OKCupid joined the protest, calling for a boycott of the FireFox browser.

    "Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it," Baker's post said. "We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves. 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 Guardian reported that Eich has "repeatedly refused to discuss his donation to the Proposition 8 campaign, saying that to do so would violate Mozilla’s principle of inclusiveness."

    “I agree with people who say it wasn't private, but it was personal,” he said of the donation in a Wednesday interview. “But the principle that I have operated by, that is formalised in our code of conduct at Mozilla, is it's really about keeping anything that's not central to our mission out of our office."

    The Guardian also reported that Eich donated thousands of dollars to Right Wing Republicans such as Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan in the 1990s.

    In a March 26 post on his website, Eich addressed lingering concerns about his stance on marriage equality.

    "I am deeply honored and humbled by the CEO role. I’m also grateful for the messages of support," Eich said. "At the same time, I know there are concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla. I hope to lay those concerns to rest, first by making a set of commitments to you. More important, I want to lay them to rest by actions and results."

    Eich went on to detail Mozilla's commitment to inclusiveness, adding that 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."

    In her post, Baker underlined the importance of "diversity and inclusiveness."

    "Mozilla supports equality for all," she said. "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."

    Twitter immediately reacted to news of Eich's resignation, with some asking asking whether the resignation was the best way to address the issue.

    Investor and entrepreneur Marc Andreesssen tweeted in support of Eich's contribution to technology, saying: "Brendan Eich is a good friend of 20 years, and has made a profound contribution to the web and to the entire world."

    Others hailed the power of "clicktivism," praising OKCupid for its call to action.