Company says scandal shows why open web is important for “tough conversations”
Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned from his post on Thursday following a protest from dating site OkCupid over Eich’s past contribution to an anti-gay marriage campaign.
A co-founder of the tech company and former Chief Technology Officer, Eich was only in the position for less than two weeks. His March 24 promotion sparked outrage across the web and led to resignations within his own company, due to objections many had over a $1,000 contribution Eich made in support of the California Proposition 8 campaign that came to light in 2012.
Prop 8, which initially passed in 2008 before the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional, banned gay marriage in the state.
“Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.”
The company acknowledged that it stayed silent for too long and did not engage with users of its Firefox web browser after OkCupid posted a message on its site Monday in protest of Eich’s past contribution to the California Prop 8 campaign, which banned gay marriage in the state.
“Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure,” the OkCupid message read.
In its apology, Mozilla said that the company believes in both equality and freedom of speech, and cited the importance of an open web to have “tough conversations.”
“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,” the blog post read.
“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.”