The board of Mozilla has announced that Brendan Eich is stepping down as CEO of the organization after it has come to light that he contributed $1000 to California's Proposition 8 campaign. Prop 8 was passed in 2008, ending marriage equality in California, until the law was struck down by the US Supreme Court in June of 2013. The announcement came on the Mozilla blog, as well as in a story with the tech site Recode.
Eich earlier stated that he was aware that his contribution that blocked marriages for same-sex couples for five years has caused pain for his LGBT friends and family, employees of Mozilla, and for the many users of Mozilla's products, like the popular Firefox web browser.
In the statement by Mozilla, the organization apologized to the LGBT community for the pain and mixed messages that were being sent by Eich's appointment. The organization also reaffirmed its support of the LGBT community:
Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. 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.
Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.
Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.
Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.
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.
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.
We need to put our focus back on protecting that Web. And doing so in a way that will make you proud to support Mozilla.
What’s next for Mozilla’s leadership is still being discussed. We want to be open about where we are in deciding the future of the organization and will have more information next week. However, our mission will always be to make the Web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive and more just: that’s what it means to protect the open Web.
We will emerge from this with a renewed understanding and humility — our large, global, and diverse community is what makes Mozilla special, and what will help us fulfill our mission. We are stronger with you involved.
Thank you for sticking with us.
- Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman
“Mozilla’s strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where corporate America is: inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all," said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
CREDO Action has also spoken out in support of the decision, and asking people to support Mozilla, suggesting the following tweets:
.@Mozilla stands up for equality AND free speech! CEO steps down. https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2014/04/03/brendan-eich-steps-down-as-mozi... #p2 #lgbt
CEO of @Mozilla steps down. #standwithmozilla switching to @Firefox https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2014/04/03/brendan-eich-steps-down-as-mozi... #lgbt
Victory for equality and free speech. #standwithmozilla #switchtofirefox https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2014/04/03/brendan-eich-steps-down-as-mozi...