In the face of mounting criticism about his 2008 donation to the Proposition 8 campaign, Brendan Eich has stepped down as CEO of Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser.
The company’s executive chairwoman, Mitchell Baker, issued a statement about Eich’s decision on The Mozilla Blog April 3, saying that the next steps regarding leadership are being discussed. Tech news site Re/code quotes Baker as saying that Eich was not forced out, but his ability to lead the company in light of the backlash that followed his appointment “is not possible here.”
Baker adds in her blog post, “We want to be open about where we are in deciding the future of the organization and will have more information next week. However, our mission will always be to make the Web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive and more just: that’s what it means to protect the open Web.”
Baker also reiterated Mozilla’s commitment to diversity: “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.”
Prior to his resignation, several Mozilla employees had called on Eich to step aside, expressing anger over his donation in support of the California initiative to ban gay marriage.
OkCupid also called on users to switch from Firefox to other browsers when trying to access the dating site, because of Eich’s donation. Further, at least three Mozilla board directors, who were in favour of an appointee from outside the company, resigned over the selection of Eich, a Mozilla co-founder, as CEO.
Eich’s more recent statements in media interviews, indicating that he didn’t wish to discuss his views about gay rights, didn’t assuage the concerns of those who opposed his appointment. “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,” Eich said in comments to The Guardian, adding, “I don’t believe they’re relevant.”
When questioned about whether he would donate again to campaigns like Prop 8, Eich said he preferred not to “do hypotheticals,” choosing instead to tout his ability to do perform the role of CEO, Pink News reports.