Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigns amid controversy

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigns amid controversy

Summary: "We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act," said the software company's executive chairwoman in a memo on Thursday.

SHARE:
firefox-mobile2

Following a whirlwind of controversy and a few weeks in the headlines, Brendan Eich is resigning as Mozilla's chief executive officer.

Mozilla announced the decision in a blog post on Thursday.

Eich had only been chief of the company behind popular web browser Firefox for a very brief term. Mozilla had been searching for a new CEO since Gary Kovacs, who came on-board in 2010, departed almost a year ago.

But it soon came to light, or rather resurfaced, that Eich had made a $1,000 donation to the campaign supporting Proposition 8 amid the 2008 Presidential election.

Prop. 8 sought to ban same-sex marriage in California.

Although he initially rebuffed criticism about his donations and politics, Eich soon expressed sorrow "at having caused pain" to Firefox users offended by his donation.

Those sentiments weren't nearly enough for Internet users and even Mozilla's board members alike -- three of whom were initially reported to have jumped ship over Eich's appointment.

Other figures in the tech community lambasted Mozilla over Eich. Online dating giant OkCupid even redirected users visiting the site via Firefox to a pointed letter calling for Eich's resignation. The landing page also asked visitors to access OkCupid through alternative browsers and apps in the meantime.

According to Firefox's memo on Thursday, Eich has chosen to leave the company on his own versus being fired.

But there is no love lost in the send-off either.

"We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act," said Mitchell Baker, the software company's executive chairwoman. "We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better."

As for a replacement, Baker added that "Mozilla’s leadership is still being discussed."

Topics: CXO, Privacy, Software, Tech Industry, Web development

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

467 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I really don't like this

    and I find it very disturbing.

    Eich was clearly on the wrong side of history, but when we transition from one side of history to the other, there are going to be some people who had the wrong opinion, or even actively supported the wrong cause.

    But Brendan Eich invented Javascript - the web as we know it today wouldn't even be possible without him (which made the whole idea of a boycott absurd, unless the idea was to turn your computer off altogether.)

    Are we to understand by this that Eich is unemployable in perpetuity, as are any other people who got an important issue wrong?

    I can't say I am comfortable with that, even though I am certain that Eich was on the wrong side of Prop 8.
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • The only thing shameful is the behavior of the GBLT Cabal

      I've seen more freedom of thought and tolerance out of fanaticaly fundamentalist Islamic jihadis than I have out of the giblet "community".
      Dr_Zinj
      • Hypocrites

        When someone speaks out against the LGBT groups , those people are called BULLIES
        When LGBT groups actively harass and aggressively bully the CEO of a company because of his opinion they choose to call it Free Speech.
        RomanGalleon
        • Hypocrites

          Are people, no matter where they work, allowed a personal opinion or to support whoever and what ever they wish. Free speech is only allowed for LGBT and no one else. They can force their agenda down the throat of any one they wish to but no one can say anything contrary to what they believe, SICK.
          jmrod55
          • Group hate-think

            When I read your posting, it reminded me of the endless hate and lies that were used to sell Prop 8 to unsophisticated, "god-fearing" voters. "force" "agenda" "throat" "sick" "no one can say anything" "bullies" "harass" Much like the official publications of communist states in the 1950s, these words alone will, if used in a Google search, pull up endless articles selling hate of LGBT citizent to the ignorant. The fact is that due to the construction of human consciousness and the memes that the radical right has accepted without question, they as tyrants justify their position by playing the victim, co-opting the actual victimood of the victims of their tyranny. Much like Hitler branded the Jews as "terrorists" this tactic works, but the cost is a life of thinking of yourself as a victim, which is a life wasted.
            krauskopf
          • you think highly of yourself, huh

            Progressofascist scum..the millennial generation is utterly ignorant about history and think the world began the day their worthless ass was born. They think they are just that much brighter than the 4,000 generations before them, even though they live in a F'ing basement...or mommy and daddys spare bedroom.
            TrishaDishaWarEagle
          • OK, settle down!

            NT
            Papa_Bill
          • Proof

            The presence of your hate-filled rant on this blog is proof enough that free speech is alive and well - on the Internet anyway. Sadly, the Internet has freed people to vent their hate publicly in ways that were never before possible. The anonymity of the Web has liberated haters of every stripe to spew their bile without fear of consequence or retribution, other than that someone may take the time to call them on their bigotry in the same medium. Of course, riling people up is one of the main objectives of the haters so they take any judgment or criticism as a badge measure of their success.
            thewhitedog
          • So in other words, krauskopf

            you agree with what jmrod55 said.

            If not, you pretty much validated everything he said without actually coming right out and saying, "I Agree".
            William.Farrel
          • No accounting for agendas

            Sorry, William, if you're going to put words in the mouths of others, you'd better understand what they think better, otherwise it makes you look like you have a reading comprehension - nay, a world-comprehension - problem.
            krauskopf
          • +1 and Touche

            @William.Farrel
            mcmurphy510
          • What irony in your "comment" krauskopf

            You said: "the endless hate and lies that were used to sell Prop 8 to unsophisticated, "god-fearing" voters." People who believe what you believe are what we call "bigots." You are at least as bad as the worst of whom you are targeting with your own "group hate-think."
            cryptikonline
          • Bigots

            Bigots are people who don't agree with your point of view on something. It's that simple.
            rphunter1242
          • Bigot

            a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
            krauskopf
          • Re: Bigots

            Free speech for me, but not for thee.
            JAG39
          • Remind me

            Which "group" are the people who voted to make LGBT less-than-equal participants in our democracy part of? It's not bigotry if you passionately oppose a group of idiots who appoint themselves judge, jury, and executioner as did the creators and supporters of Prop 8.
            krauskopf
          • Sigh... once again...

            Not tolerating intolerance is not intolerance. It's that simple. That is what distinguishes bigots from those who would protect themselves from being called such by others.
            krauskopf
          • Welcome to the Rainbow Reich, everybody.

            krauskopf - You're a fascist lunatic and a liar.
            SgtSpork
          • If only...

            you had a firm grasp of the definitions of "fascist", "lunatic", and liar. But sadly, you do not.
            krauskopf
          • It has absolutely nothing to do with hate

            Curiously, though, the claims of hatred sound fairly hate-based themselves!
            Papa_Bill