updated 07:51 am EDT, Tue April 1, 2014
Discovery of donation by new CEO to campaign in 2008 causes headaches for Mozilla
Mozilla's new CEO is causing issues at the company, over a donation to support a ban on gay marriage in California. Shortly after Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich was named as the replacement head of the company, Mozilla has seen three board members resign over the appointment, has had to defend itself in blog post against criticism over the CEO's donation, and in a recent development, has incurred the wrath of a dating site.
In 2008, Eich donated $1,000 to support a ban on gay marriage, under Proposition 8, though many technology companies were vocal in not supporting the ban. Resentment over Eich's earlier stance forced the company to post a "Statement of Diversity" on its blog, claiming it to have "always been deeply committed to honoring diversity in sexual orientation and beliefs within our staff and community."
A second post a few days later, titled "Mozilla Supports LGBT Equality," sought to clarify the company's stance. One paragraph notes "Mozilla's community is made up of people who have very diverse personal beliefs working on a common cause, which is a free and open Internet. This is a very rare and special thing."
Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich
Gary Kovacs, John Lilly, and Ellen Siminoff all left the board over the choice of Eich, reports the Wall Street Journal. It is not clear if the donation was a factor in the board's decision-making process, though it is said the three gave up their positions as they wanted a CEO from outside of Mozilla with experience in the mobile industry, someone who could help it improve its mobile browser and mobile operating system plans.
Firefox users visiting the OkCupid dating site are greeted by a message recommending the use of other browsers instead of the Mozilla-produced software. Referencing the donation, the site suggests "If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8 percent of the relationships we've worked so hard to bring about would be illegal," and declaring "Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure." The site does permit normal access via a link under the statement, but not before suggesting the use of Google Chrome, Opera, and what it calls "Internet Exploder." Other browsers are unaffected.
In a statement received by The Verge, Mozilla reiterated its support for "equality for all," and claims "OkCupid never reached out to us to let us know of their intentions, no to confirm facts."