Brendan Eich Steps Down as CEO of Mozilla Amidst LGBT Equality Controversy

| Analysis

Brendan Eich—tech wiz, programmer, creator of JavaScript, longtime member of the Mozilla community, and anti-gay marriage advocate. He built his reputation in technology to become CEO of Mozilla Corporation, but it was a US$1,000 donation in support of Prop 8 in California in 2008 led to his departure from that position on Thursday.

Brendan Eich

Brendan Eich
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of Mozilla, announced Thursday in a blog post that Mr. Eich was stepping down. In that post she also apologized to the Mozilla community for not acting fast enough, saying, "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."

She also said that it was Mr. Eich who made the decision "for Mozilla and our community."

The controversy was a long time in building. Mr. Eich's donation to a group sponsoring Prop 8—which enshrined anti-homosexual discrimination in the California Constitution and was struck down by a series of courts—took place in 2008. It has been known in the Mozilla community since 2012, and it built into a "furor," according to The Washington Post, in recent weeks.

Many in the community wanted Mr. Eich to step down or declare his current support for gay rights equality. He did neither, insisting that he left his politics at the door.

On Wednesday, for instance, he told The Guardian, "So I don’t want to talk about my personal beliefs because I kept them out of Mozilla all these 15 years we’ve been going. I don’t believe they’re relevant."

Concerning his donation, he added, "I agree with people who say it wasn't private, but it was personal. But the principle that I have operated by, that is formalized in our code of conduct at Mozilla, is it's really about keeping anything that's not central to our mission out of our office."

He said that the Mozilla community was made up of diverse people from around the world, including countries where LGBT rights are not considered a universal right. He pointed to Indonesia, where such rights are non-existent, but where many contributors to Mozilla live. His point was that those opinions aren't part of the work place and stop at the door, that Mozilla was about protecting the Web and building a better browser.

In the end, however, chairwoman Mitchell Baker said that Mozilla as an organization supported LGBT equality. According to Re/code, she also said, "It’s clear that Brendan cannot lead Mozilla in this setting. The ability to lead—particularly for the CEO—is fundamental to the role and that is not possible here."

Despite that, she insisted that Mr. Eich made the decision to step down on his own, and that he was not pressured into leaving by her or other board members.

This is a complex issue, but in the end I can't help but feel that Mozilla is losing a gifted individual for an issue having little to do with job performance. I abhor Prop 8 and the bigotry behind it, but demanding that people subscribe to your political beliefs or work somewhere else is a treacherously slippery slope, whether on the right or the left.

That said, this situation is a clear demonstration that the issue LGBT equality is becoming more mainstream every day, at least in the U.S.

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Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Cool. So I assume all the outraged people will be calling for Obama’s impeachment by Monday. Hey maybe we can weed out every corporate flack who gave money to State Senator Yee, aka the guy starring in his own personal Grand Theft Auto style reality video game.

Lee Dronick

I guess the website OKCupid will no longer block Firefox

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26830383

windwalker

This has nothing to do with gays, equality or marriage and there is no controversy about the facts.
It’s much simpler: vae victis.

skipaq

It is hard to believe that no pressure was put upon Mr. Eich. It is getting to the point that personal beliefs are still permitted; but they will shut the door to educational and professional opportunities. Now, what does that sound like?

geoduck

It is getting to the point that personal beliefs are still permitted; but they will shut the door to educational and professional opportunities. Now, what does that sound like?

What does it sound like? Like it’s always been. It’s nothing new. Look up what happened to people that were vocal about civil rights in the 40’s, or advocated women’s voting rights in the 1890’s, or were anti slavery in the 1850’s, or rallied for the crown in the 1770’s. See what happened to pacifists after December 7, 1941. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, just that it isn’t anything new. People have a right to associate or not with people for a lot of reasons. People have a right to patronize or not a particular brand or store, or software for whatever reason they want. If someone’s personal stand on an issue casts a company in a bad light then that company has to reevaluate their association with that person. See for example the case of Jimmy the Greek vs CBS. This isn’t anything new, it isn’t PC run amok. It’s just the way it is and has always been, going back centuries if not millennia.

skipaq

@geoduck I would agree that PC in any given period expressed itself against various movements in our history or other periods. However, there is the notion of freedom of speech (other freedoms as well) in our system of government. My point isn’t that this is something new. My point is that this intolerance is just as bad as all the others. Yes, it is bad. I don’t see anything good in it. Replacing one form of bigotry with another is not good. It is also not true that we still have the right to do business with whoever we choose based on their views on this issue and others. It is PC run amok.

John Dingler, artist

I suspect that people who support anti-gay initiatives or preach against them to be secret gays.

$1000.? That’s chump change for him, so perhaps he’s only a little anti-gay.

But there is also the so-called “dark money,” money that it given in secret. If he gave a huge amount of dark money to the anti-equal rights Prop 8, then maybe he’s totally gay, right down to the bone.

skipaq

Your suspicions, John, do not reflect well on you. They sound very prejudicial in making a judgement without facts to back them up.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@geoduck: To paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy… If you feel threatened by a legal political contribution, you might be a wanker.

I think when the people who actually do things in this industry wake up and realize they may have to defend themselves from the wankers, there will be a whole lot of retribution and a whole lots of scalps. Get your popcorn.

MacFrogger

Hmmmm…interesting discussion.  Maybe we can all agree that Firefox simply doesn’t cut it anymore? 

The above discussion really comes down to how strongly you feel about gay rights.  In other words, let’s use a different example - let’s say Mozilla appointed someone as their new CEO who gave a $1000 to a hypothetical US Nazi Party.  Or to the Ku Klux Klan.  If all of you who think Eich is OK would also think the Nazi or Klan supporter as CEO is OK, well then at least you’re consistent.

But would it be good to have someone like this as the public face of your company?  I don’t think so.  Its not just about whether the CEO has the skills to be a CEO - there are many other issues that come into play.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@MacFrogger. The current President of the United States was not a Nazi or Klan sympathizer in 2008. End of discussion, Godwin.

Bryan Chaffin

For Pete’s sake, Brad. The current president of the United States changed his position on the issue of gay marriage, and he did so publicly.

This is essentially what Mr. Eich’s critics were demanding that he do, for good or ill.

My only point is that bringing Barack Obama into this is disingenuous and a distraction.

While I’m at it, comparing knowingly giving to a cause to giving to a politician before you knew that he or she did something wrong is absurd.

I’m mostly in your camp about the donation issue, but you’re trying to turn this into an indictment of completely irrelevant things.

Bart B

“demanding that people subscribe to your political beliefs or work somewhere else is a treacherously slippery slope” - I’ve been wrestling with this in my own head since all this started, and it really is the central question.

The things is, human rights are not “a political belief” like a preference for single payer healthcare, or an opinion on gun control. There is something very different about fighting to deny others basic rights.

My mental test is, would X be OK if you replaced sexual orientation with race.  Would it be OK to have a CEO who is anti-interracial marriage? Or pro segregation? I think that’s pretty clear cut, no it would not. So, why would it be OK to have a CEO who is actively fighting to deny gays their basic rights?

There ARE gay people in the Mozilla community, having a CEO who is taking part in campaigns to opress them is not tennable. He could either be an effective CEO, or a campaigner against human rights, not both.

Any yes, this is a sign of how far America and the world have come on gay rights - we’re reached a stage where in much of the world it’s not OK to discriminate against people because of who they love.

Bart B

“It is hard to believe that no pressure was put upon Mr. Eich. It is getting to the point that personal beliefs are still permitted; but they will shut the door to educational and professional opportunities. Now, what does that sound like?”

It’s not about “beliefs”, it’s about actively working to deny other human beings their basic rights.

It is wrong to opress peoeple because of who they are. If someone is fighting to deny others their basic rights, then it’s the moral duty of every decent human being to protest.

xmattingly

Pretty sick world where an activist group can DEMAND that a CEO adapt their values and also get their way, even when he has checked his own beliefs at the door.

@Bryan
Then that would be, “for ill”; If a CEO keeps his personal politics out of the office, which Eich clearly did, then it’s no one else’s damn business. And I have to point out that Code Pink and PETA both utilize the same sort of “adapt our beliefs or die” bully tactics, and neither are considered “mainstream”. If this is the standard MO of the LGBT community, then they’re consigning themselves to second class citizenry simply because no one will like them.

With regard to MacFrogger’s absurd analogy (rightly countered by Bosco’s comparison to Obama’s “change of heart”), this form of activism is the new Gestapo.

MacFrogger

@Bosco:  Like I said up front, it all depends on how strongly you feel about gay rights. And yes, while I did invoke Godwin in this case, I think its wholly appropriate to bring in the dreaded Nazi comparison because it sets the far end of the moral boundary at which most people would agree it would be a no-no to appoint a CEO who gives money to the Nazi Party.  And we could probably all agree as well as well, setting the opposite boundary if you prefer, would be a CEO who gives money to groups working to end hunger.  (Though I’m sure there are at least some who would object to this on Ayn Rand-ian grounds, but probably not so much to want to boycott a company because of it.)  These are appropriate boundary conditions to set, and getting back to my point clearly stated at the start of this comment as well as my earlier one is that how you feel about the public face of Mozilla, Mr. Eich, ALL DEPENDS ON HOW STRONGLY YOU FEEL ABOUT GAY RIGHTS.  (Emphasis added for those who want to twist my words to make it sound like I was comparing Eich to Nazis, or Eich defenders to Nazis, or Obama to Nazis, or Obama to Eich, or whatever.)  Meaning you can think whatever you want about gay people Brad, or people who seek to deny gay people their rights, but in the end it reflects poorly on you and not me.  And it also reflects poorly on you when you twist my words around in completely ridiculous ways.  (And what does Obama have to do with any of this?)

MacFrogger

@xmattingly:  Maybe I’m being thick here, but I don’t see what Obama has to do with any of this.  As to absurdity of my analogy, I will stand my ground and repeat: it all depends on how strongly you feel about gay rights.  If you think I equated those who oppose gay rights to Nazis, then you need to go back and read my comments again.  Certainly there are people - many of them gay but many of them not - that view people who want to deny them their rights as “Nazis”, but that is not my argument.  So I’ll repeat one final time: It all depends on how strongly you feel about gay rights.  Capeesh?

And if people who strongly support gay rights want to boycott Mozilla or protest its CEO, that is their right and for you to refer to them as the “new Gestapo” is the real absurdity here.

xmattingly

@MacFrogger Donating to a Nazi party (or any other party) on your own time and own dime, and strength of feeling about gay rights are mutually exclusive concepts. You’ve crossed a threshold by suggesting that someone who donated to an anti-gay bill could be compared to a Nazi supporter, so yeah: Godwin. That was YOUR implication; no word-twisting required. Your inability to owe up to your inflammatory remarks reflects poorly on you, and no one else.

MacFrogger

Well I have to respectfully disagree - there was nothing I implied.  Only a clear statement that it all depends on how strongly you feel about gay rights.

I am not only owning up to my remarks, I’m restating them.  Again and again.  How you interpret them depends on how your brain is wired, not mine.

MacFrogger

And let me just quote your comment to make sure I get it right: “this form of activism is the new Gestapo.”

And now let me quote you again: “so yeah: Godwin.”

Well said!

skipaq

@MacFrogger In a calm fashion you ask a good question about consistency. The answer for those who oppose what Mozilla has done is: I view the Nazi and KKK as morally evil. I do not view the millions of Californians who supported prop-8 as belonging to something evil. My position is consistent with my beliefs. Additionally, I would support the rights of those who disagree. I don’t like Cook’s public campaigns on this issue; but I believe it would be wrong for Apple to pressure him to resign.

What about those millions of Californians who supported prop-8? Some of them surely are CEOs, Presidents, Vice Presidents, Managers and so on. Should they all be forced to resign or demoted? Perhaps they should all lose their jobs unless they recant. Consistency on your part would seem they all should lose any high level management position at the least.

Brad has made a valid point. Our right to vote is hampered by politicians who say one thing to get elected and act contrary to that public position. That is not a partisan view. I felt just as strongly about “Read my lips, no new taxes.”

John F. Braun

To me the real question should be does Mr. Eich let his personal beliefs impact his ability to be an effective CEO? Based on what I’ve read, the answer is no, in that there were no policies at Mozilla that discriminated against people due to their sexual orientation.  For example, their health coverage is offered to both married and same sex couples.  He goes into more detail here, I’ll let you read for yourself:

https://brendaneich.com/2014/03/inclusiveness-at-mozilla/

Lee Dronick

People can their change political and cultural views, spiritual and religious beliefs, clothing style, operating systems, and all sorts of things. Sometimes they change for opportunistic reasons or necessity, sometimes by education and experience, any number of reasons. I try live and let live, but I too am just human though I strive to be a better one.

ibuck

I agree with Geoduck on this: try to be a compassionate, good person. In any society though, you are responsible for your behavior. And moreso when your behavior is more prominent, as in this case. Americans are very forgiving though if one apologizes or recants one’s beliefs. And Eich chose to resign rather than to do so.

To me, the argument that millions of Californians supported Prop 8, so it’s OK, is weak. Isn’t that like a teenager telling his parents that millions of teens are using drugs, or texting while driving, so it’s OK?

skipaq

@ibuck I didn’t make the statement about the millions of Californians to defend prop-8. If Mr. Rich must go then how about all these others? It is a simple question that consistency dictates they must not be allowed to hold or achieve such positions. What would you suggest be done about all those millions of prop-8 supporters in the workplace?

Personally, I would rather the federal and state governments get out of the marriage business completely. As far as tolerance is concerned, I have worked with and been supervised by people in the gay community without any issue. My views, political or otherwise, will not change my behavior. Is it not best that such would be the norm in the reverse direction?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I hold what some might call a nuanced view on gay marriage, and all marriage in general. It’s that the state should not grant favors and mete out penalties to couples who register with the state as “married”. In my ideal world, marriage is between you and your spouse (and your god if you’re into 3-ways). It ought not be a concern of the state.

It would surprise many of you how many 40-somethings who’ve been through a divorce or two end up with very similar beliefs. It would also surprise many of you how many small-l libertarian gays have been very nervous about this marriage as a civil rights thing.

But you know Bryan… here’s what this side show really boils down to. Eich can go out and raise money and build a wanker-free organization that is actually concerned more about its product and less about silly, divisive politics. The minute he announces it, Mozilla is dead and gone, but its source will live on.

Bart B

I’m interested to see a false equivalence being drawn between opressors and those fighting opression.

Gay people are human beings. Prop 8 was an unconstitutional discriminatory law that denied human beings the basic right to equal treatment under the law. Anyone who supported it supported discrimination. That’s not opinion, that’s fact. Just like it is fact that anyone who supported segregation supported discrimination.

So, how, exactly, is Eich actively fighting to enshrine discrimination into law the same as Tim Cook fighting against discrimination?

Since Nazi’s are the fashion in this thread, it’s a bit like saying those opposed to totalitarianism are the same as those fighting to take away people’s rights so as to extablish totalitarian rule.

There’s a name for that - it’s false equivalence.

It’s an uncomfortable truth, but gay people have no more control over their sexuality than black people do over their skin pigmentation. Discrimination based on something intrinsic about a human being is wrong. Prop 8 was imoral, and supporting prop 8 was imoral.

Lee Dronick

“To me the real question should be does Mr. Eich let his personal beliefs impact his ability to be an effective CEO? Based on what I’ve read, the answer is no”

Yes, but then he hasn’t been CEO for very long. This morning I was listening to PBS Radio and someone being interviewed sad the pressure for Mr. Eich to resign came first from some employees. Also that several board members resigned after he was made CEO.

ibuck

@skipaq: Perhaps you missed my point. The more prominent one is, the more prominent one’s behavior becomes. If one expresses a position (even if on principle) that is now viewed as wrong, one’s prominence makes it problematic. If one streaks naked in one’s backyard at night, it’s not as prominent as daylight streaking into a crowded public place. In the former instance, one is not likely to suffer much disapprobation; in the latter the reverse is more likely true.

The millions who voted for Prop 8 may have thought they were doing the moral thing, and many religious organizations may have led them to do so, perhaps without much thought by those voters. For religion has caused people to do immoral things on millions of occasions: the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Nazi’s killing of Jews and waging WWII in God’s name, “death to the infidel,” etc, etc. 

If one tries to achieve a position of any prominence, one’s past actions become subject to review, fair or not.  So following the dictates of one’s religion, or of one’s own narrow sense of morality, does not exempt one from suffering the brickbats of public opinion.  And in prominent positions, those brickbats may make things untenable.  If one apologizes / recants one’s position, forgiveness is possible, if not probable. It may not be necessary to suffer loss of employment. Indeed, one’s actions or views may not have even been public knowledge, so no recourse occurs.

skipaq

@ibuck No, I got your point. I don’t agree with it; but that is not what my comment tried to answer. While there is no way for me to know how many prominent people supported prop-8; it sure will be interesting to see them lose their position as the brickbats fly their way. Just imagine what could be accomplished with brickbats in a state like Alabama. Just think of all the good being done under the banner of tolerance.

You then go on to lump all religion into one big cause of many evil things. That is an oversimplification of what actually was behind many of these events. You are really wrong with your statements about the Nazis and WWII being the result of some religious campaign. Ask my father or any WWII vet if they answered a religious call to serve or Roosevelt’s.

From what I have read Mr. Eich is not looking for forgiveness. He seems to be strong enough to take whatever brickbats you want to throw at him. Maybe you won’t have enough brickbats to cover all those evil doers you have judged worthy of such honor.

webjprgm

I agree with @MacFrogger that it depends on how you feel, and how strongly, about gay marriage.

If you feel strongly that gay marriage is a human right then anyone who opposes it is amoral. (Which is where the Nazi argument comes in, since they are an example of people that most everyone alive today feels are immoral abusers of human rights.)

If, however, you believe that gay marriage is just an individual choice and is not a fundamental human right, then those who oppose it are just people with different opinions to which they are rightly entitled.

Note that both Nazis and KKK are still bad examples because they were not just immoral groups but also actively killed people who opposed them. Those who are anti-gay marriage are not killing gays. (At least not at an organized level; there are certainly one-off acts of violence that you find from time-to-time in the newspapers.) So using Nazis and KKK as an example is still going a little too far.

So when you ask if it would be OK for a CEO to have opinion X, make sure that X is on the same level as being “opposed to gay marriage” / “supporting the sanctity of traditional marriage.” Don’t use false comparisons. (I don’t know the name of that logical fallacy, but I’m sure one of you fellow commenters does.)

ibuck

@skipaq: As you again appear to misinterpret my remarks, it seems you are just looking to make me wrong, rather than trying to understand my viewpoint. I was not lumping all religion by any means, just pointing out that when some religions, particularly the larger ones, teach intolerance or exclusion, they give birth to millions of immoral acts (though such acts could be argued as amoral behavior at times) by their followers. I don’t wish to offend you, I am just presenting a reasoned point of view that is different.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Well, it now appears that Mr. Eich’s political donation sins went much deeper. He apparently donated money to Pat Buchanan’s 1992 and Ron Paul’s Presidential campaigns!

This really just needs to play out with more scalps until everyone gets tired of it in a few years. Also, we need a polite word for the R-word, because that’s the only way to describe this.

mrmwebmax

+

@Bryan:

I abhor Prop 8 and the bigotry behind it, but demanding that people subscribe to your political beliefs or work somewhere else is a treacherously slippery slope, whether on the right or the left.

Very well said. I fully support gay marriage, but at the same time I am having difficulty with watching what happens to those with an opposing viewpoint. From Perez Hilton practically demonizing a beauty pageant contestant with traditional views on marriage, to the whole recent Duck Dynasty controversy, and now this. Throw in the ongoing controversies with companies not wanting to pay for birth control they believe induces abortions and Christian bakers being sued for not baking lesbian wedding cakes—let alone the complete demonization of these people and their beliefs in most of the media—and today’s Left is reminding me of the moral Majority and the Right of the 1980s: complete self-righteousness and an inability to see any possible “truth” other than its own.

This brings up @Bart B:

It’s an uncomfortable truth, but gay people have no more control over their sexuality than black people do over their skin pigmentation. Discrimination based on something intrinsic about a human being is wrong. Prop 8 was imoral, and supporting prop 8 was immoral.

Herein lies part of the problem: Not all people believe sexual orientation is an intrinsic part of one’s character as is, say, skin color. I believe it is so, by the simple argument: I cannot explain via any sort of rational or scientific means why I am only attracted to women, especially as I don’t want children. Why am I? I just am.

I believe gay people “just are,” too. However, many people don’t hold this belief, and feel that gays “choose” a lifestyle that is “sinful,” or “unnatural,” etc. They honestly believe gays are purposely choosing to live a lifestyle that is, in their minds, immoral, and thus to support that lifestyle in any way (like by baking a lesbian wedding cake), they, themselves, are contributing to that immorality.

That’s why I feel the arguments comparing race to orientation break down just a bit: No one can argue that anyone chooses their race or the color of their skin. But orientation? From what I understand, science now believes that orientation isn’t so much a binary straight/gay switch, but more like a spectrum, with most people falling somewhere between the two. Bisexuals would be on or near the middle of the spectrum, for instance. That’s, at least, what I believe the current thinking is.

You could then bring up issues of free will. Do we have the free will to be whoever we want to be? If so, then shouldn’t we be able to choose our orientation? Those against LGBT rights would say yes, thus orientation is a choice, and the LGBT community is purposely choosing to commit acts that are immoral/sinful/unnatural. Again, to make it clear, I don’t hold this point of view. But I can understand where it comes from, and it is certainly not as clear-cut as race/skin color.

Complicating things further is the whole concept of marriage. Legally, I believe marriage in this country stems from English Common Law, pre-Mayflower, and thus certainly only recognizing a union between a man and woman. But given that the majority of weddings take place in a church, many people believe that marriage is an institution of the Church. Therefore, said people would hold a religious view of the definition of marriage, and that would not by any means include gay marriage.

My bottom line on the issue: Proposition 8 was wrong on so many levels, not the least of which, given the above, I believe it violated the division of church and state. At the same time, the Left can’t and shouldn’t expect everyone to march lock-step to their thinking, any more than the Right and the Moral Majority should have thought so in the 1980s.

ibuck

So anyone who opposed Prop 8 (which excluded some people from their civil rights and promoted intolerance) is a Leftist? If one stands to the extreme right of the political spectrum, then everyone less “conservative” is “to the Left.”  This kind of thinking labels moderates as liberals, and is absolutely absurd, yet it’s practiced daily on TV & radio networks, newspapers and blogs, etc., and many Americans probably think it’s reasonable thinking.  It’s not.

Nor is thinking that people who oppose such discrimination are radicals who insist everyone think their way. Public sentiment is often changed by public discourse, reasoned or not, of facts and ideas. That’s what is happening.

Some are trying to illustrate the issues by reframing the question in different terms. There’s a huge difference to presenting those points of view and saying that they expect everyone to march lock-step to their thinking.

And grouping together everyone who opposes exclusion and intolerance is not only highly inaccurate, but damaging to the public discourse. Is that the intent?

mrmwebmax

+

@ibuck,

So anyone who opposed Prop 8 (which excluded some people from their civil rights and promoted intolerance) is a Leftist? If one stands to the extreme right of the political spectrum, then everyone less “conservative” is “to the Left.”  This kind of thinking labels moderates as liberals, and is absolutely absurd, yet it’s practiced daily on TV & radio networks, newspapers and blogs, etc., and many Americans probably think it’s reasonable thinking.  It’s not.

I never said that only the Left opposed Prop 8. I oppose Prop 8 and I’m Libertarian (fiscally conservative, socially liberal, believer in limited government). I was imply pointing out what should be obvious: Whenever someone today opposes any cause championed by the Left/Progressives, they are demonized, they lose pageants, TV shows, CEO titles, etc. And the self-righteousness does remind me, frighteningly so, of the far Right of the 1980s.

Nor is thinking that people who oppose such discrimination are radicals who insist everyone think their way. Public sentiment is often changed by public discourse, reasoned or not, of facts and ideas. That’s what is happening.

No, I don’t believe everyone is a radical trying to get people to think their way. But far too many are, as evidenced by the topic of this thread, by the demonization of Hobby Lobby, the Duck guy, the pageant contestant, etc. Dissenting opinions—even those not tied to legislation—are not tolerated in today’s PC climate. If they were, this thread would not exist because the guy would still be CEO and thus the article never would have been written. Telling Mozilla to can the guy, like telling whatever network airs Duck Dynasty to fire Phil, isn’t “public discourse.” Its extortion.

And grouping together everyone who opposes exclusion and intolerance is not only highly inaccurate, but damaging to the public discourse. Is that the intent?

Not the intent at all. I am all for public discourse. Those demanding that people be fired and shows be cancelled are not taking part in “discourse” of any kind. They are saying, “Accept my views or suffer the consequences.” That is not discourse. I am calling them out, as I am calling out the current ham-fisted state of our PC climate. I am not calling out everyone opposed to Prop 8 and in favor of gay marriage. As stated, I am in that latter group as well.

webjprgm

+1 for @mrmwebmax

webjprgm

I might point out a nuance in the religious view of LGBT: while some believe that sexual orientation is a choice, there are others who are willing to accept that it is biochemical and not a choice yet the choice engage in sexual acts, regardless of sexual orientation, is still a choice. The Bible condemns sexual acts between unwed heterosexual pairs just as it condemns all homosexual acts. The Bible nowhere condemns people who have homosexual or bisexual orientation, just the act (at least that’s my interpretation).

Anyway, @mrmwebmax gets to the point of this debate, which is the demonizing of anyone with opposing view points. That is wrong, so Eich should not have had to step down.

ibuck

What is PC ? Political Correctness is simply opposition to discrimination against or alienation of politically, socially or economically disadvantaged groups. What’s wrong with treating everyone equally and fairly?  Isn’t that the basis of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights?

If a leader can’t be PC, how sound is his/her judgment? If one is a public figure, then one’s higher profile can mean suffering public consequences for one’s actions. If one messes up, public apologies usually calm the situation. But making or sticking to hateful, discriminatory or exclusionary comments or actions displays poor judgment and bad public relations. Should we allow such untoward actions just to save a few people from themselves?

webjprgm

PC is also a fluid variable.  Terms that are descriptive of color and/or race may be acceptable one day and not the next, like “colored,” “black,” and “African American.” (I left out the derogatory n-word, but even that is derived from a color-description synonymous with black that took on a mispronunciation and became an insult.)  Note that in Venezuela calling someone “the black guy” or “the fat guy” is perfectly normal. In America that is not PC.

What is the PC term: “house wife,” “stay at home mom,” “home executive”?  What about “garbage man” versus “sanitation engineer?” Sometimes PC gets a little ridiculous.

ibuck

webjprgm, I think it depends on use. If one uses “black man” or “stay at home mom” to disparage someone, it’s not really different from more pejorative terms. But even so, some seem to want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

John Dingler, artist

Oh, come on! It’s a PR and class warfare and Reagan started it by smearing “liberals” and attacking worker’s unions. That god-aweful reverse feminist Thatcher was in on it.

More recently, Rightwingers got rid of Van Jones and all of a sudden they whine that us Progressives must tolerate bigots and those, such as Eich, who seek to diminish civil liberties? No. This is because not tolerating intolerance is a moral virtue and an educational and social duty. One can discuss this issue civilly with those who hide behind their uncivility but that’s fighting from a voluntary position of weakness – that’s one way. Instead, it’s payback time by hammering back at the bigoted opposition, their pleasant supporters and smiling lackeys.

webjprgm

Please do remember that Prop 8 *passed* in California. So over 50% of Californians are the same “bigots” as Eich.

On “Payback time,” please refer to the Bible where it says “vengeance is mine.” I’m sure there are other moralities that say revenge is bad. It can be analyzed from a game theory perspective too, but the only thing I know is “tit for tat” so I’ll leave that to the experts.  In any case, it is still just wrong to say that since person A did something bad now it is fair to do something bad back to person A. That brings in the “two wrongs don’t make a right” arguments too.

Lee Dronick

The Bible condemns sexual acts between unwed heterosexual pairs just as it condemns all homosexual acts.

Well it condemns a number of things, many of which are ignored by people who say that they live by that book.

MacFrogger

It looks like this has become the dinner party where everyone said the he11 with it and started discussing both religion AND politics?!  smile

Here’s the spectrum of how people feel towards gays:

Hatred/Violence - Intolerance - Neutral - Tolerance - Full Acceptance

Do you know where YOU fall on this spectrum?  Even those commenting on this blog who we can clearly infer are not at the “Full Acceptance” end at least do not seem to be at the “Hatred/Violence” end either.  (The evil end, right Brad?) 

Like Lee, I am a “live and let live” person, and don’t believe anyone has a “right” to force their religious beliefs on anyone.  For me personally, that means Neutral, Tolerance, and Full Acceptance are the minimum requirements for a civilized society.  Hatred/Violence and even Intolerance are frankly not acceptable to me in any form, whether its directed at gays, Latinos, Asians, Blacks, or anyone else.  And that’s where I draw my line.  As I said, where you draw yours is up to you.

webjprgm

I actually love discussing both religion and politics and wish dinner parties didn’t try to avoid it. In any case, I was not trying to make a religious case, I just can’t help myself mentioning it.

I do agree with @MacFrogger that we should be on the Neutral - Tolerance - Full Acceptance side of the scale. But that is just because we should love and respect everyone regardless of whether their beliefs and actions agree with our beliefs.

These kinds of discussions always get me so upset. Well, anything in politics does that. But it’s even worse when someone drags politics into otherwise unrelated technology and business like with Mozilla and Brendan Eich.

My general opinion on this issue is that laws should be made to prevent one person’s free choice of actions from interfering with other people. That is partly “live and let live” but I don’t take it in an “I don’t care what you do” kind of way but rather look at whether the government is preventing something that wouldn’t harm others, is incentivizing something that does harm others, etc. Disallowing gay marriage seems to be preventing something that harms no one. But there are some people who feel just using the word “marriage” for something they find abhorrent to be a type of harm, or fear that their churches will have to allow gay marriage, or are afraid of harm to the families and children.  I don’t know exactly where the line needs to be drawn, but I don’t believe it’s the full-acceptance side any more than I believe it’s the full-opposition side. This line of reasoning, though, can clearly be applied to the case with Eich where people in support of one position are abusing their popularity to hurt another individual. That should not be allowed; leave Eich alone.

In order to argue that Eich is entitled to his opinion I also have to argue that being pro-traditional-marriage is not a human rights violation. That’s why I brought up some of the things I did, to show that there is another view point that may not be 100% right but is not entirely wrong either so needs to be given fair consideration. You don’t have to agree with it, only see that there is some logic that makes people who believe in traditional marriage not be monsters.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

The evil end, right Brad?

Not sure where you’re going with this Frogger, but I’m pretty sure it’s an inane attempt to paint my position completely wrong.

An entirely consistent opinion to hold is that gay people should be treated with respect and acceptance due all other people, “yeah, whatever” on the marriage thing (applies to hetero couples as well), and it’s completely bat guano crazy that this has risen to anything above, “hey, if you can’t talk politics respectfully in the office, keep it at home”.

As a fan of justice and peaceful coexistence, I know that if we want to maintain peaceful coexistence, there needs to be symmetric retribution for this debacle. Against whom is unclear. Judging from how a whole bunch of Mozilla employees took to Twitter yesterday to express their own disgust at how Eich was tossed out, I suspect the first round will take place within the company itself. Likely with hostility toward the next tech-ignorant PC crowd approved CEO.

Frogger, let me put this another way… Gay rights in general, and gay marriage in particular may very well be noble, righteous causes (I’d go yes and misguided on those two respectively), but time and place for righteousness. People who made Eich’s appointment as CEO into a moral crusade are wankers of the worst kind. I dare say they are setting back the cause of acceptance. Strangely, perhaps, Bill Maher agrees with me.

MacFrogger

Brad - funny how you keep misinterpreting what to me seem to be pretty clear comments.  Clear to others as well, but whatever - I think I’m beginning to understand it though.  My comment was most definitely not an “inane attempt to paint my position completely wrong.”  It was an attempt to end a divisive thread on a more positive note, to find something that I think we all share in common.

What I meant was that it was apparent to me that even you agreed that the far end of the spectrum - Hatred/Violence - was evil.  Though it may seem trivial, its not - we have come a long way in this country, with the exception of some organized haters in Kansas known as the Westboro Baptist Church. Who we probably all would also agree are anything but Christian.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

that even you agreed that the far end of the spectrum - Hatred/Violence - was evil.

Even me. Just uneffingbelievable. I’ve long realized that the typical prog attitude about those who disagree with them is that those others are but a step away from violence. I trace it to college dorms where someone who breaks up with a girlfriend or gets a B on an exam is non-ironically referred to as “being on suicide watch”. I totally wish that anti-progs could front like that. I also know why we can’t.

Anyway, I’m going to write an essay on what this Eich thing is really about. Hint: it’s not gay rights. It’s not progressives versus conservatives and/or libertarians. It’s a more epic, longstanding battle in tech.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I had a lot of thoughts about this Eich thing. I posted them to Facebook and probably disqualified myself from ever holding a tech job north of Bakersfield. I guarantee you won’t find anyone else taking my angle on this, which is that the gay rights dispute is a side show.

Read it here.

MacFrogger

Brad:  I just read your piece.  I actually agree with most of it.  I worked in SV for many years, and have more than a few similar horror tales I could share with you over a beer or two.  But to be honest, I don’t know how long I’d sit at the bar if, whenever I disagreed with you, you called me a wanker.  In a similar vein, you end a reasonably thoughtful piece with a link to someone who’s National Review piece refers to liberals as fascists.  xmattingly referred to them as the Gestapo.  Name-calling is inherently disrespectful, and works against building any kind of understanding between people with different points of view. 

Getting back to my “spectrum”: I stand by my comment that I don’t believe you’re a “Hater”.  But the name-calling and the disrespect you sometimes show others on this blog doesn’t exactly allow me to conclude that you’re “Neutral” or “Tolerant” on this scale either.  And yes, these things are two-way streets, and yes liberals need to tolerate and respect others with different POVs too.  And that’s part of the problem we have in this country right now, isn’t it?

Bryan Chaffin

Well said, MacFrogger.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Well, the point of the NR link was lost on your Frogger. Not sure how I could be any clearer in saying I thought it was a false narrative from the conspicuous opponents of the ridiculous narrative. I can only write it. You gotta read it.

MacFrogger

Thanks Bryan.  You know the thing is, and Brad especially might find it hard to believe this, but I actually DON’T think Eich should have resigned or been forced out.  But I come back to my original point - it all depends on how strongly you feel about gay rights.  I can totally understand how those who feel very passionately about gay rights would want to protest his appointment as CEO, and even call for a boycott of Mozilla.  This doesn’t make them wankers, they are certainly not fascists, and they sure aren’t using Gestapo tactics!

Instead, it could have been a “teachable moment” had he stayed.  Not unlike what happened to Chik-Fil-A, an east coast chicken joint, not that long ago. One of the execs made a bunch of anti-gay comments and as it turned out, the company was also funding a whole lot of anti-gay activities.  So there was a gay-led boycott of the chain, followed by a counter “protest” of Christians called by their pastors to go eat there to make up for the lost biz.  In the end, the company decided that being anti-gay wasn’t good business, and even stopped donating to these anti-gay rights groups.  In other words, they moved down the spectrum towards tolerance.  A positive outcome came from the whole controversy. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick-fil-A_same-sex_marriage_controversy

Eich is at least as smart as that!  wink

MacFrogger

Brad - you are absolutely correct.  I did not read it, because the title turned me off.  I’m liberal on some things - including gay rights - but I’m no fascist.  So the author lost me before he even started, because he starts out from a point of disrespect.

And BTW, I’m pretty darned conservative on some things too…

Lee Dronick

It isn’t just Mr. Eich who shouldn’d have been fired, well pressured to leave, for his personal beliefs, but no one should be fired for them. No one should be pressured at work to accept the bosses, or the workplace majority’s, social and political point of view, religion, or what have you. Yet some States are passing laws, or even just proposing them, that allow for such discrimination.

One final though and then I will probably stop following this thread. Other people’s marriages, their intimate behavior, doesn’t affect mine at all.

John Dingler, artist

To what extent, and on which important social/political issues, is it possible to leave one’s politics at the door? Please give historical examples.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Here is an interesting chart from Nate Silver. Anyone want to share their thoughts about Intel or about 13 Apple employees who need to get run?

Chart here.

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