Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Steps Down After Anti-Gay Marriage Controversy

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich has stepped down, the company confirmed today.

Mozilla Chief Executive Brendan Eich has stepped after facing severe criticism over his earlier support of a legal measure banning gay marriage. Photo: Drew McLellan/Flickr

Mozilla Chief Executive Brendan Eich has stepped after facing severe criticism over his earlier support of a legal measure banning gay marriage. Photo: Drew McLellan/Flickr

Brendan Eich, who was among those who founded the popular web browser, has stepped down as its CEO, the company confirmed on Thursday, after an online dating service urged a boycott of the firm because of a donation Eich made to opponents of gay marriage.

“Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO,” Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of Mozilla, wrote in a blog post. “He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.

“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,” the statement reads.

“Mozilla supports equality for all.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.”

The company got under fire for appointing Eich as CEO last month. At the time half Mozilla’s board also resigned after his appointment, though Prop 8, which was supported by Eich, was not cited as the reason.

The tipping point came on Monday when OkCupid posted a notice to anyone using Firefox, a Mozilla product, urging them to switch browsers. “Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples,” OkCupid wrote in the notice. “We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.”

More than five years ago the co-founder also provided a certain sum of money to oppose the legalization of gay marriage in California, a hot-button issue especially at a company that boasts about its policy of inclusiveness and diversity.

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

The next step for Mozilla’s leadership “is still being discussed,” she added, promising to unveil further details as soon as next week.

“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,” the company explained.

And while advocates of gay’s rights welcomed the decision of the company, many in the technology community highly critised the move, as Eich is the one who invented the programming language Javascript and co-founded Mozilla.

“Brendan Eich is a good friend of 20 years, and has made a profound contribution to the Web and to the entire world,” venture capitalist Marc Andreessen tweeted.

Earlier this week, now-ex chief emphasized that his personal beliefs outside the office are not relevant inside the office.

“It may be challenging for a CEO, but everyone in our community can have different beliefs about all sorts of things that may be in conflict,” Eich said in an interview with CNET published on Tuesday. “They leave them at the door when they come to work on the Mozilla mission.”

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