Mozilla -- most famous for its Firefox browser -- patted itself on the back for standing up for equal rights when it forced out CEO Brendan Eich Thursday after only a week on the job.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based organization infuriated many employees and users last week by promoting Eich. The hullabaloo centered on Eich’s $1,000 donation in 2008 to support Prop 8, the California initiative that barred same-sex marriage in the state.
The dating website OkCupid, which says 8 percent of its users are gay or lesbian, boycotted Firefox earlier this week, telling its users not to use Mozilla's software to access the site in light of Eich's promotion.
— Lauren Goode (@LaurenGoode) April 3, 2014
In a blog post Thursday, Mozilla Chairwoman Mitchell Baker said the company believes both in “equality and freedom of speech.”
Proud of Mozilla through this. Humbled by colleagues. Grateful for support. https://t.co/J7nMFrDvZN
— Cassie McDaniel (@cassiemc) April 3, 2014
— Owen Thomas (@owenthomas) April 3, 2014
Many people took to Twitter to express outrage that he had been toppled for making a donation to a cause in which he believed.
"Mozilla supports equality for all." - @Mozilla actually wrote this in defense of firing a guy for his expression of free speech.
— RB (@RBPundit) April 3, 2014
Prop 8 got 7 million votes in California; position was same as Obama's in 08. Supporting it now a firing offense. http://t.co/2WaXNZiWRU
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) April 3, 2014
— Right Scoop (@trscoop) April 3, 2014
But the tone was very different on the left. The Huffington Post reported on the controversy this way, saying: “Many … publically condemned the software development firm for appointing a known supporter of the anti-gay laws.”
And tweeters attacked Eich, but were careful not to gloat.
I'd rather he'd just accepted that he had been wrong to fund hate speech. >> Brendan Eich Steps Down as Mozilla CEO https://t.co/Fl8x92ybCL
— Owen Blacker (@owenblacker) April 3, 2014
Liberals Jesse LaGreca, who writes for Daily Kos, and John Aravosis, the gay founder of Americablog, debated Obama’s “evolution” on gay marriage. Obama supported the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman until the 2012 campaign.
— Jesse LaGreca (@JesseLaGreca) April 3, 2014
— John Aravosis (@aravosis) April 3, 2014
So is this the new standard for tech companies: opponents of gay marriage need not apply?
Lauren Ashburn joined the network in 2013 and currently serves as a Washington-based contributor for FOX News Channel (FNC). On MediaBuzz with Howard Kurtz, Ashburn contributes commentary on the state of the news media shaping current events, their role in politics, cultures, business, and tech. Click here for more information on Lauren Ashburn.