John M. Becker

Half of Mozilla's Board Resigns; Pressure Mounts on CEO

Filed By John M. Becker | March 31, 2014 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Brendan Eich, CREDO, Firefox, gay marriage, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, Mozilla, Prop 8, Proposition 8, resignation, same-sex marriage

brendan-eich-mozilla.jpgThe fallout continues at Mozilla over the web giant's promotion of Proposition 8 donor Brendan Eich (right) to CEO.

According to the Wall Street Journal, half of the company's six-member board -- including two former CEOs -- resigned last week in response to Eich's hire:

Gary Kovacs, a former Mozilla CEO who runs online security company AVG Technologies; John Lilly, another former Mozilla CEO now a partner at venture-capital firm Greylock Partners; and Ellen Siminoff, CEO of online education startup Shmoop, left the board last week.

The departures leave three people on the Mozilla board: co-founder Mitchell Baker; Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, and Katharina Borchert, chief executive of German news site Spiegel Online.

The three board members who resigned sought a CEO from outside Mozilla with experience in the mobile industry who could help expand the organization's Firefox OS mobile-operating system and balance the skills of co-founders Eich and Baker, the people familiar with the situation said. They did not want to be identified because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Pressure is mounting on Eich as well: progressive advocacy organization CREDO launched a petition to Mozilla calling on Eich to publicly reverse his position and announce unequivocal support for marriage equality. If he is not willing to do so, the petition creators say, he must resign.

They write:

But the board's decision to elevate Eich, whose history of anti-gay advocacy was public before he was hired, to the position of CEO is a forceful gesture that elevates an advocate of writing discrimination into our laws to the head of a global brand representing openness and equality. The people at Mozilla and their massive community of users deserve better than a leader that advocates for inequality and hate.

It's not enough for Eich to pledge that he will enforce Mozilla's strong internal policies that ensure all employees are treated equal when he continues to refuse to renounce his advocacy for legislating hateful discrimination against gays and lesbians with constitutional amendments such as Proposition 8.

We hope for and would welcome a public statement from Eich of unequivocal support for equality not just within Mozilla but for all Americans. If he cannot do this he should resign or be fired.

As of this writing, CREDO's petition has almost 67,000 signatures. If you'd like to add yours, click here.

UPDATE: Dating site OKCupid has now joined the fray. Details, after the jump.

OKCupid, the popular dating site, is serving up a pop-up message to all users who attempt to access the site on Mozilla's Firefox browser. The Verge reports:

Anyone accessing the popular dating site OKCupid with Firefox today is in for a surprise. Instead of the homepage, is serving Firefox users with a message calling out Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for his support of California's Proposition 8, highlighted by a $1000 donation made in 2008. "Mozilla's new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples," the message tells users. "We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid."...

The message allows OKCupid users to continue to the site via a link at the bottom, but not before they've seen download links for the other four major browsers and a very strong call to action: "Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure."

A Mozilla rep has already responded to OKCupid, writing in a statement: "Our CEO is not an 'anti-gay' activist -- in fact he's apologized. And our Board Chair, who is the CEO's boss, is vocally in support of LGBT rights. Mozilla as an organization is staunchly in support of marriage equality and LGBT rights. OKCupid never reached out to us before this, and their boycott page is at the very least factually incorrect."

h/t on the update: Joe. My. God.

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