April 3rd, 2014

Amid controversy, Brendan Eich resigns Mozilla CEO position


Amid controversy, Brendan Eich resigns Mozilla CEO position

Mozilla has a significant presence here in Portland. And many of their employees have been critical participants in forming and maintaining the community we have here. That’s why I felt it was important to highlight that their recently appointed CEO has stepped down.

For those of you who didn’t hear about the issues with Eich, he came under criticism for having donated money to campaigns and politicians who opposed marriage equality. In a time when Portland startups are championing things like marriage equality and we’re working to encourage greater diversity within our community, the turmoil around Eich was understandable.

Following the outcry where a number of people publicly asked Eich to do so, Mozilla has announced that he stepped down:

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.

Portland’s Christie Koehler—a Mozilla employee and cofounder of Stumptown Syndicate, which organizes events like BarCamp Portland and Ignite Portland—voiced her views on Eich’s appointment, last month:

Like a lot of people, I was disappointed when I found out that Brendan had donated to the anti-marriage equality Prop. 8 campaign in California. It’s hard for me to think of a scenario where someone could donate to that campaign without feeling that queer folks are less deserving of basic rights. It frustrates me when people use their economic power to further enshrine and institutionalize discrimination. (If you haven’t seen it, here’s Brendan’s response to the issue.)

However, during the intervening years, I’ve spent a lot of time navigating communities like Mozilla and figuring out how to get things done. I’ve learned that it’s hard working with people but that you have to do it anyway. I’ve learned that it can be even harder to work with someone when you think you don’t share your fundamental beliefs, or when you think they hold opposing or contradictory beliefs, but you have to do that sometimes, too.

For more information, see Mozilla’s blog post on the matter.

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