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Mozilla CEO resigns over anti-gay publicity

The CEO of the Mozilla Foundation, Brendan Eich, has resigned, following on from OKCupid’s campaign to have its users stop using the Firefox browser because of a donation he made in support of an anti-gay marriage piece of legislation in California in 2008.

Mozilla released a statement about the move, apologising for not acting sooner, though it didn’t elaborate on whether (though it seems likely) Eich was forced out, or resigned of his own accord.

“We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act,” wrote Mozilla Executive Chairman Mitchell Baker. “We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry.”

OKCupid placed this message on its homepage for Firefox users earlier this week

Gay Rights groups have applauded the move, though some have shown support for Eich, who not-only co-founded the Mozilla Foundation, but also invented the Javascript programming language. They’ve suggested that it’s a shame Eich’s personal beliefs have had such a drastic effect on his career.

KitGuru Says: This is one of those difficult situations. As out of date as Eich’s beliefs might be, he should still be allowed to have them and support whatever organisations he wants.

You can understand why Mozilla would have wanted him gone, to dampen down the bad press, but advocacy groups and OKCupid would do much better to silence critics of same-sex marriage by explaining why any two people in love should be able to marry, rather than calling for the firing or boycotting of services affiliated with these people. Those types of sweeping actions have such big knock on effects that it seems too big a punishment for one individual’s ideals.

On top of that, you don’t combat prejudice by forcing the people who have it out of work, you do it by showing them the error of their ways. That should be the focus of pro-equal-rights groups, not career lynch mobs.

[Thanks Reuters]

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